The Jazz Department

We teach jazz music in Weston-super-Mare…

We use the term ‘jazz’ to describe its many forms including swing, gypsy jazz, bebop and others; within our department’s curriculum we include many genres involved in the development of jazz. Styles such as blues, folk, roots, funk, soul and R&B have all played their part in the growth of jazz music and have linked musical, historical and social importance. We aim to explore these genres with our students, both within the context of jazz and in their own right.

There are many ways to approach jazz; primarily we believe it is about interaction, creative improvisation and expression. To do this effectively, however, one must understand the framework on which music is built. This requires a knowledge of melody, harmony and musical structure.

A practical appreciation of how to play as an ensemble is emphasised with equal importance to technical knowledge as listening is also fundamental to making music; this includes knowing when to play or leave space and why, and is perhaps more important in jazz than any other style.