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Grade: 9-10

Unit: Improvisation
Class: Junior Jazz Band
Lesson Number: 3
Length of Lesson: 60 (7:45-8:45)

Stage 1: Desired Results
General & Specific Outcomes (knowledge, skills & attitudes/values):
Students will learn the melody of So What by Miles Davis, be able to play it in
the style of a traditional jazz standard arrangement, and improvise over the chord
changes in a group and/or individual setting.
Students will value the process of learning a jazz standard by ear and being
able to improvise in a group setting over the chord changes.

Stage 2: Assessment Evidence (Assessment As/Of/For Learning)
Assessment Strategy:
Students will be assessed based on their engagement with the activity and
their ability to reproduce melodies and create/reproduce improvised echo patterns.

Stage 3: Learning Plan
1. Activating (8-12 minutes):
Students will be given an extremely brief opportunity to review the notes
utilized for improvisation in the previous class. This will be done through note
matching with the instructor.
Students will then echo the one-bar improvised patterns performed by the
instructor. The first 8-10 echo patterns will begin on beat one and on the tonic pitch.
The subsequent 8-10 echo patterns will start at varying beat markers (the and of
four, the and of four, etc.).
Students will then be required to individually improvise a single one-bar
pattern for the rest of the students to echo. We will snake through the band between
one and three times, depending on the proficiency and comfort level of the students.
2. Acquiring (15-25 minutes):
Students will learn the melody of Miles Davis So What through echoing with
the instructor. All students will be required to learn the melodys two components,
including the harmony part that accompanies the response component of the main
melody. The melodys components are to be taught through an extensive amount of
repetition, accompanied with short breaks in which the students listen the melody
as performed on the original recording.
3. Applying (15-20 minutes):
The students will play their own arrangement of So What, with each student
deciding which component(s) of the melody they would like to play. The students
are to be responsible for the A sections of the piece while the instructor will be
responsible for the B section of the piece. A traditional jazz standard arrangement
format will be utilized with extra statements of the melody added at the front
and/or back of the tune to allow for variations of the melodys arrangement. It is
during this time that students may volunteer to solo individually if they would like.
All other solos will be played in a group setting.
To manage the arrangement (and remind students of how the arrangement
has been put together), its details are to be recorded on the board.
4. Play Through (final 5-10 minutes, provided there is time)
The band will play through Alright, Okay, You Win, a chart they have been
working on for the past week. The focus of this read through will centre
predominantly around style and interpretation.
5. Accommodations/Modifications for Exceptional Learners
Students who are uncomfortable with the act of solo improvisation will not
be forced to improvise by themselves. To allow these students an opportunity to
improvise, group improvisation will be performed both as an entire band and in
sections (ie. the saxophones improvise for eight bars, followed by the brass).
Students who are somewhat comfortable with the act of solo improvisation
will be asked to improvise one-bar echo patterns in addition to participating in
group improvisation. I would consider this level of comfort, given our early stage in
this unit, acceptable for all students.
Students who would like the opportunity for an added challenge may
volunteer to solo for eight, sixteen or thirty-two bars on his/her own. This is not a
requirement for all students.
Resources:
So What original recording, stereo system, instructor instrument, improvised
echo patterns, students instruments, whiteboard/projector.