In this course, students will gain an understanding of how jazz works. Students will learn the distinctions (and similarities) between various sub-categories and chronological periods in jazz. They will also learn the roles of various jazz instruments and how these roles have evolved. Important topics like jazz improvisation, the rhythm section and jazz composition will be explored. Through reading and listening to jazz recordings, students will become familiar with many of the great artists of jazz, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. (3 credits)
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Students who successfully complete this course will have a general understanding of the following:
- Identify the roles (and the evolution of the roles) of the instruments used in jazz.
- Explain the techniques and structures that govern jazz performances.
- Discuss the primary characteristics of sub-styles of jazz.
- Explain the historical/musical significance and primary contributions of important jazz musicians.
- Analyze and compare different recordings of jazz performances.
General Education Outcomes (GEOs)
Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.
Course Activities and Grading
|Discussions & Cumulative Discussion Replies (Weeks 1-8)|
Written Assignments (Weeks 4 & 6)
Final Project (Week 7)
Available through Charter Oak State College's online bookstore
Bierman. Listening to Jazz. Second Edition. Oxford University Press, 2020. ISBN-13: 978-0-19-092590-1
- Admission to one live performance - cost depends on performance chosen (Note: Online option available for students logistically unable to attend a live performance.)
Reading and Listening Assignments
Topics: Jazz Basics, Origins, and Roots
Topics: Chicago, New York, and Kansas City Jazz
Topics: Duke Ellington and the Swing Era
Topics: Jazz Vocals and Bebop
Topics: Jazz in the ‘50s and ‘60s: Cool Jazz, Hard Bop, Avant-Garde and More
Topic: Postmodern Developments
Topics: Fusion, Neo-Traditionalism, and Other Contemporary Movements
Topic: Jazz Today
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.