iShed: Interactive Software for the Training of Novice Jazz Improvisers
It’s quite common for the novice musician to forget their place in the song, miss the change to a new section, or be unable to play in the key or at the tempo chosen by the leader. Every type of improvisational playing requires the player to follow a set of rules, to understand the particular style for its “codes of behavior” so they may develop an appropriate strategy for successful navigation.
Where can young or novice jazz musicians get the training needed to become more effective improvisers? Research suggests that quite often in music education, even when a jazz band program exists, training in improvisation is not a high priority because of the time and dedication the student needs to commit in order to master the skills required, or because of the music teacher’s unfamiliarity with the subject.
The purpose of this dissertation was to design software is to provide a highly interactive practice environment for skill acquisition in the domain of jazz improvisation. The activities available via the software interface reflect a synthesis of methodologies articulated in jazz improvisation textbooks and personal communications with jazz masters. iShed attempts to put into practice a belief that music education, specifically jazz improvisation, can be made more dynamic and engaging to the novice player through the use of computer technology.