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#2060680 - 04/07/13 08:43 AM Berklee improvisation course on Coursera
Veelo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/12
Posts: 24
Loc: Germany
Introduction to Improvisation is a free course offered by the Berklee college of music on Coursera:

https://www.coursera.org/course/improvisation
It will start on April 22nd.


Just in case you wonder about what Coursera is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PojLL3E-zk0

--

Also, if anyone is interested in learning how to play the guitar have a look at this course:
https://www.coursera.org/course/guitar

You can browse Coursera for other music courses:
https://www.coursera.org/courses?search=music
_________________________
I started playing the piano 2010. I enjoy sight reading.
My blog: http://pianobeginner.wordpress.com/

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Piano & Music Accessories
#2060687 - 04/07/13 09:18 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1368
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Thanks for the tip!
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
https://www.youtube.com/user/djboing/videos

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#2060766 - 04/07/13 12:42 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Elkayem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/12
Posts: 160
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
Just signed up. I couldn't tell from the website... Are these courses live? Are they taught along side students at the college?
_________________________
Schimmel 130T

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#2060801 - 04/07/13 02:18 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Elkayem]
Veelo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/12
Posts: 24
Loc: Germany
The lectures come in form of videos which are recorded (you can watch the videos any time you want). Every week new videos are realeased. The course also includes a discussion forum.

I don't know if the course actually takes place at the college too.
_________________________
I started playing the piano 2010. I enjoy sight reading.
My blog: http://pianobeginner.wordpress.com/

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#2060823 - 04/07/13 03:25 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1368
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
https://www.youtube.com/user/djboing/videos

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#2060889 - 04/07/13 05:33 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Elkayem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/12
Posts: 160
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
Looks like the coursera version has an abbreviated syllabus that lasts only five lectures (vs 12 for the full Berklee version). I'm not even sure it is a subset since several of the coursera lectures don't appear in the full course. I wonder if Otis taped separately. Still, hard to beat a free class by Gary Burton.
_________________________
Schimmel 130T

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#2060961 - 04/07/13 07:10 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Riddler Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 613
Loc: Florida
I signed up a few weeks ago.

Looking forward to this!

Ed
_________________________
http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.


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#2061018 - 04/07/13 09:12 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: chrisbell]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2303
Loc: Sydney
Originally Posted By: chrisbell


Thanks Chris.
Here is our course content for the abbreviated 5 week course.

Lesson 1: Overview of the Mechanics of Jazz Improvisation
This lesson explores how improvisation uses our language abilities to construct logical melodic phrases. It introduces the concept of musical speech with vocabulary and grammar, when applied to improvisation.


Lesson 2: Chord Outlines and Chord Scales
This lesson examines the use of chord outlines. It identifies the most commonly occurring chord scales and how to practice them in order to assimilate them
.

Lesson 3: Choosing the Correct Chord Scales
This lesson introduces a set of guidelines for determining the correct choices for scales in various harmonic situations.

Lesson 4: Understanding Harmonic Movement
In this lesson, you will learn about the different types of harmony movement and resolution, and how the improviser uses them when playing through the different types of chord progressions.

Lesson 5: Making Melodies
In this lesson, you will learn about theme development and establishing continuity of melodic phrases and ideas to build musical story lines as a basis for improvisations.

So it looks like I will miss out on comping, and analysing compositions.
I'm really cool with that as I don't think I yet have my ear sufficiently well developed for comping.
Analysing compositions with Gary's insight would have been phenomenal.

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#2061120 - 04/08/13 03:05 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1368
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Here's Gary Burton's 2-hour workshop on improvisation. It's excellent:
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
https://www.youtube.com/user/djboing/videos

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#2061817 - 04/09/13 10:59 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
pianopaws Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 71
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Thank you for the link! I signed up today, and it looks like a great class.
_________________________
M.M., Piano performance and pedagogy
Member, MTNA and NCMTA

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#2062044 - 04/09/13 04:29 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Lost Woods Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
Is this absolutely free? No obligations at all? Free classes and peer reviews for free seems almost to good to be true. Anyone who's got experiece with coursera?


Edited by Lost Woods (04/09/13 04:29 PM)

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#2062210 - 04/10/13 12:05 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2303
Loc: Sydney
Hi LW
I hope you sign up because why would you say no to a 2013 Grammy award winner ?
I haven't done any subject in Coursera but my friends have done Computer Programming and Calculus and have loved it, they enjoy top professors marking their assignments.

I don't think Gary will be marking any of your assignments but you will be marked by "peers" some of which will be advanced, and some from blues/rock/fusion. You don't have to feel pressure to submit anything.

I think your only obligation is to watch the weekly vids.

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#2062229 - 04/10/13 12:56 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Amy B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 78
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Just signed up! I've been actively trying to "free" myself from the notes on the page....this seems like a great way to dive in. Looking forward to it, and thanks to the OP for the info.
_________________________
Shigeru Kawai SK6 (as of 10/22/12!!)
Ivers and Pond upright
MTNA, CAPMT

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#2062281 - 04/10/13 05:34 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Lost Woods Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
Well custard you're right smile I signed up, looking forward to it!

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#2067297 - 04/19/13 06:29 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2303
Loc: Sydney
It's very considerate of Coursera/ Berklee to advise of the one week delay.

"The tragedy, which took place in Boston this past Monday occurred one block from the Berklee Online offices. Authorities are treating a multi-block radius around the bombings at the Boston Marathon as a crime scene, and as such, access to all buildings in the area has not been possible, including the Berklee Online offices.

Unfortunately, what this means is that we have not been able to access the assets we need to launch our Introduction to Improvisation course with Coursera this coming Monday. We are confident that we will be allowed back into the area shortly, and that we will be able to launch Gary Burton's course on Monday, April 29th.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you, and we are all really excited for you to see what we've created. You are going to love this course.

Thank you for your understanding,

The Berklee Online Team

Introduction to Improvisation Course Staff"

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#2073457 - 04/29/13 12:33 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Jim Frazee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 393
Loc: Westchester County, New York
Anyone else having trouble logging in? Haven't been able to for about three hours now.
_________________________
PianoPerfection
Teacher, performer, technician
Westchester County, NY

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#2073540 - 04/29/13 03:02 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1368
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
No problem here.
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
https://www.youtube.com/user/djboing/videos

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#2074102 - 04/30/13 11:10 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Elkayem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/12
Posts: 160
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
Impressions of the first class? I thought it was interesting how, after a brief high level lecture comparing improvisation to language, Gary threw the students into fairly deep waters. He asked students to analyze his solo with lots of quick eight note passages using lots of chromaticism and alterations, and then asked students to submit their own solos on What Is This Thing Called Love at 160 bpm. While not the most advanced changes, they hardly introductory, starting out in F minor, and then modulating between F minor, C major (with a false start in C minor) and Bb major. No attempt was made to explain how to improvise over these changes. I would have expected him to start with a simpler tune at a slower tempo, or a blues. Reading the class forum, some of the students are clearly baffled, asking questions like "what does F- mean?". Any thoughts on his choice for the assignment?

For me, this is actually starting at the right level. I am still struggling to learn how to improvise, but understand the basics well enough get by. This assignment forces me to record and critique my own solos at a tempo slightly out of my comfort zone. Not to easy but not too hard. I couldn't have done this a year ago.
_________________________
Schimmel 130T

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#2074121 - 04/30/13 11:29 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1368
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Good choice.
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
https://www.youtube.com/user/djboing/videos

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#2074624 - 05/01/13 12:00 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
kippesc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 407
Loc: United States
@Elkayem. Good summary of Week 1. I may "audit" the class. But I'm not too adept at this kind of music, and I don't have the time to do the assignments at any level I could be proud of. Finding the 6 sections of Sea Journey looked like it'd take me half the week, though I figure eventually someone on the forums will provide a map of that solo fairly soon.
_________________________
Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX

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#2075830 - 05/02/13 11:32 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Lost Woods Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
Elkayem, totally agreeing with you. Not sure if I can do the assignment. When I opened the solo pdf I was like.. okay well didn't expect that lol. But I think I'll just give it a try even though my improv won't make any sense lol.

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#2076362 - 05/03/13 12:38 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Elkayem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/12
Posts: 160
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
There are plenty of people on the course forum who are complete beginners and yet are not shy about posting and sharing their soundcloud improv recordings. I think it is great, and fascinating. The only way to learn this art is to practice doing it over and over, and the first assignment has everyone doing it right out of the gate.
_________________________
Schimmel 130T

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#2076559 - 05/03/13 10:30 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Jim Frazee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 393
Loc: Westchester County, New York
Well, I spent most of Week 1 learning how to use Garage Band and Soundcloud and I'll probably have just as much "learning" next week. Finally got my assignment recorded and submitted after a fashion. Can't wait for Week 2!
_________________________
PianoPerfection
Teacher, performer, technician
Westchester County, NY

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#2079664 - 05/09/13 06:07 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Elkayem]
Lost Woods Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Elkayem
There are plenty of people on the course forum who are complete beginners and yet are not shy about posting and sharing their soundcloud improv recordings. I think it is great, and fascinating. The only way to learn this art is to practice doing it over and over, and the first assignment has everyone doing it right out of the gate.


Well actually, hearing the beginners like me pulled me over the line.. to try the improv and record. I think what I tend to do is to be to hard on myself.. one can never start with improvising and sound like a pro. I find it hard to keep the pace, find the right notes in RH and keep the left hand chords going.

Well, it sounds like this: https://soundcloud.com/scott-fr-d-ric

When I listen back sometimes I think.. well it's not that bad.. but the other time I'm like, this sounds like nothing.

Have you guys made any soundcloud recordings?

About the leadsheet, I play some chords different cause I'm used to doing that in 2-5-1 (and used to the sound), is this a problem?
I make all the majors and minors a 7/9 and the "7" chords I make b9/b13 expect Ab7 and G7 (bar 14 and 16)


Edited by Lost Woods (05/09/13 06:09 AM)

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#2079686 - 05/09/13 07:15 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Lost Woods]
custard apple Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 2303
Loc: Sydney
Hey LW
Those lines were cool, they don't sound they come from a beginner.
You can use whatever chord you like, as long as it:
a) follows (e.g. by a small step) from the previous chord; and
b) the chord sounds good to your ears.


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#2079731 - 05/09/13 08:50 AM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
Lost Woods Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
custard apple, thx for your reply..
Well I'll take the "doesn't sound beginner" comment as a compliment laugh wink so thank you.
Actually I think I did the approach of "follows by small steps".

Though I had to get used to the Dmi7(b5) - G7(b9 b13) - C sound. Cause my ears want to hear a C minor chord instead of C mjaor. But well, I guess it's just about getting used to sounds.

Really enjoying listening to others on the course forum. Cause everybody has the same 32 bars and very different aproaches and solo's, learning a lot. Because of the assignment it pushes you to play. I used to always stop with trying to improvise after like 1 minute and move on to something I already knew, now I'm pushed to just play play play.

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#2079832 - 05/09/13 12:52 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Lost Woods]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1368
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Not bad LW. I agree with Custard, it doesn't sound like a beginner. Here's my take: http://soundcloud.com/chrisb/c-bell-l01-part2
_________________________

I never play anything the same way once.

https://soundcloud.com/chrisb/sets
https://www.youtube.com/user/djboing/videos

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#2079876 - 05/09/13 02:57 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
kenjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 214
Loc: Massachussetts, USA
I joined late, but thought I would give it a try also. It looks like they are going to weed a lot of us out with this first assignment. It was fun anyway...


Ken's Cousera Improv Attempt
_________________________
The Melody Never Lies

Schimmel 120J

Learning To Play Jazz Piano After Age 50+

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#2079903 - 05/09/13 03:58 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: Veelo]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2995
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
sounds really good guys.

What were the rules?
did they provide the backing track?

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#2079906 - 05/09/13 04:04 PM Re: Berklee improvisation course on Coursera [Re: knotty]
kenjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 214
Loc: Massachussetts, USA
Yeah, they provided a backing track and lead sheet with no melody. They also provided a transcript of one verse of Gary's solo for analysis.

Actually, there were two backing tracks. One for piano players (with no piano on it), and one for all others that had a piano player.
_________________________
The Melody Never Lies

Schimmel 120J

Learning To Play Jazz Piano After Age 50+

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