Certificate of Advanced Achievement in the Art of Improvisation

Overview

The Certificate of Advanced Achievement in the Art of Improvisation offers a course of study for Eastman students interested in exploring and advancing their skills in improvisation in a wide array of musical styles and ensemble settings. It is open to all Eastman graduate students (MM, MA, DMA, and PhD). Many of the requirements can be met under the electives category that exist as part of the students’ major curricula and courses that the students are required to take in order to graduate.

A live audition is required for all applicants to the Art of Improvisation program. Applicants must demonstrate skills in two different styles of improvisation (Renaissance, Baroque, Classical/Romantic, Jazz, Contemporary, Aleatoric, Non-Western [examples might include Zimbabwean, Indian or Aboriginal musics], Folk, or Cinema) and submit a brief, original composition (with an improvised section). In addition, the applicant must submit a 3-page (750 words) statement describing his/her experiences with improvisation and his/her motivation to pursue the Certificate of Advanced Achievement in the Art of Improvisation.

No more than five students will be accepted to the certificate program each year. Students who are interested in applying are urged to contact Professor Dariusz Terefenko and to submit the above materials by December 1. In consultation with Eastman faculty, Professor Terefenko will identify applicants who will be invited to audition. Final applicants will be asked to improvise spontaneously, and will be assessed in the following areas: keyboard skills, aural skills, score reading, rhythm reading, and musical interaction. A jazz rhythm section (piano/bass/drums), a continuo player, or any other accompanying units (within means) can be arranged upon request.

What are the Requirements?

CORE REQUIREMENTS – one of the following must be chosen

Course

Credits

Description

JCM 524/TH 526

3 credits

Theory/Practice of Improvisation

JCM 523/TH 525

3 credits

Theory/Practice of Harmony

MUE 483

3 credits

Improvisation

MHS 590

3 credits

The Improvising Musician

MUSIC THEORY – one of the following must be chosen

Course

Credits

Description

TH 452

3 credits

18th C. Counterpoint

TH 480

3 credits

Advanced Harmony and Composition

TH 475

3 credits

Intermediate Keyboard Skills

TH 476

3 credits

Advanced Keyboard Skills

** Other theory courses can be substituted pending the approval of the advisor    

ENSEMBLES – minimum of two semesters of ensembles

Course

Credits

Description

ENS 408

1 credit

Collegium Musicum II

ENS 446

1 credit

Eastman Saxophone Project

ENS 460

1 credit

Percussion Ensemble

ENS 415

1 credit

Graduate Gamelan Ensemble

ENS 415

1 credit

Graduate Gamelan Ensemble

JCM 451-452

1 credit

Graduate Jazz Performance Workshop

** Musica Nova, Mbira Ensemble, or any other ensemble approved by the advisor.

ELECTIVES – to be chosen from the following courses

Course

Credits

Description

KBD 405

1 credit

Organ Improvisation

KDB 444

1 credit

Keyboard Continuo Realization

KBD 451

2 credits

Jazz Piano Improvisation

MHS 443

2 credits

Baroque Performance Practice II

MUY 592/590

4 or 3 credits

Improvisation in the 19th C

MHS 590

3 credits

Any seminar on improvisation-related topic

MUE 465

3 credits

Instrumental Methods and Techniques

JCM 409-410

1 credit

Jazz Mallet Performance

JCM 484

4 credits

Advanced Studies in Improvisation

  • Other musicology courses can be used for electives pending the approval of the advisor
  • Composition electives: any graduate-level composition course approved by the advisor
  • Additional electives: Summer Institutes for Improvisation; Independent Studies in Improvisation.

NOTE: Students enrolled in any of these classes must inform the professor that they are pursuing the Certificate of Advanced Achievement in the Art of Improvisation in order to devise, in a close collaboration between the student and the teacher, assignments/projects compatible with their course of study.

RECITAL: At the completion of the coursework, for which the student must receive a grade of B+ or higher, the student will organize/perform an hour-long improvisation recital demonstrating a range of improvisational skills in different ensemble settings (for instance: as a solo performer; soloists with a chamber group, a large orchestra, a jazz ensemble: a studio orchestra, collaborative multi-media ensembles with visual arts, movies, dance, poetry, computer generated graphics, etc.). A detailed proposal of the recital program is required and must be submitted at least 2 months before the recital for approval.

MM and MA students will register for ESM 410: (0 credits –  Certificate of Advanced Achievement in the Art of Improvisation Recital)

DMA and PhD students will register for ESM 510: (0 credits – Certificate of Advanced Achievement in the Art of Improvisation Recital)

 

How Can I Apply?

Please submit an application form and cover letter to Dariusz Terefenko

Questions?

Dariusz Terefenko
Associate Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Media
Program Director, Certificate of Advanced Achievement in the Art of Improvisation
dterefenko@esm.rochester.edu