The Jazz Studies Division at the Portland Conservatory of Music is led by saxophonist/composer Titus Abbott, and is an innovative jazz program centered around students gaining improvisational skills and a solid understanding of contemporary and classic jazz. We are excited to start offering ensemble classes for jazz instrumentalists aged between 12 and 19. Along with the ensemble classes we will also be providing jazz harmony, jazz history and plan to expand to ear training and college audition prep in the near future. The Jazz Studies program will be a companion to our successful Karger College Prep division for classical music students which is now entering its sixth year.
Titus Abbott’s background is as a jazz saxophonist performing both as leader and sideman in the US, Canada and Europe. His primary instruments are saxophones and clarinets but he has training on piano, bass and drums. He has been teaching privately for over 20 years and is dedicated to introducing young musicians to the art of improvisation. The Jazz Studies program will feature a combination of PCM faculty and visiting artist master classes.
Local jazz band and jazz combo students are encouraged to apply to this program. It is an excellent way for them to develop their jazz improvisation and theory skills that will enhance their High School ensemble performance and prepare them for college auditions.
Jazz Studies Division Programs – Spring 2018
Youth Jazz Ensemble – Intermediate Instructor: Titus Abbot Tuition: $150
Wednesday, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.| 10 weeks: January 17 – March 28
This will be a jazz improvisation class for traditional jazz instrumentation of bass, drums, piano, guitar, brass and wood-winds. This is for intermediate students who are developing jazz improvisation skills. It is intended for students interested in improvising on jazz standards with an introduction to more contemporary jazz material. The course will work towards an end of session performance and will incorporate master classes with local musicians. Ages: 12-19
Youth Jazz Ensemble – Intermediate/Advanced Instructor: Titus Abbott Tuition: $150
Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | 10 weeks: Starting January 20.
This will be a jazz improvisation class for traditional jazz instrumentation. This is for players with some prior experience playing in a jazz band or jazz combo, who are interested in learning to improvise in both traditional and non-traditional styles. Primarily the class will be working on standard and contemporary jazz material with a focus on improvisation. There will also be an intro to jazz composition, free jazz improv and group improv. The course will work towards an end of session performance and will incorporate master classes with local musicians. Ages: 12 to 19
Adult Jazz Ensemble Teacher: Titus Abbott Tuition: $150
Wednesdays, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. | 10 weeks: January 17 – March 28
This is a jazz improvisation class for adults playing traditional jazz instruments or strings who are at an intermediate level and can read basic melodies or can learn by ear. Primarily the class will introduce standards and jazz blues charts. There will be an introduction to free jazz improv and group improv, leading to an end of session performance. Ages: 18+
Jazz Theory I Instructor: Titus Abbott Tuition: $150
Wednesday Evenings: Exact Times TBD
This course will cover basic jazz theory from basic chords and scales to chord substitutions and altered scales. There will be a focus on aural understanding with the use of recorded samples and demonstrations on piano or saxophone. An introduction to basic jazz composition concepts will also be introduced. Ages: 12+
Jazz History Instructor: Titus Abbott Tuition: $150
Wednesdays: Exact days and times TBD
This is an informal survey of jazz from the early days of New Orleans right up to the present day in New York City and Europe. The focus will be on listening to recordings and discussing developments and influences. The bulk of the course will cover early Be Bop to the present day including free jazz and the loft scene.
Jazz Ensemble Weeklong Workshops (2 independent sessions)
Jul 30-Aug 3, Mon – Fri, 9am – 4pm
Aug 6-Aug 10 Mon – Fri, 9am – 4pm
Students will learn jazz standards and contemporary jazz tunes with an emphasis on analyzing and developing their skills as improvisers. This is a unique Portland- based opportunity for students of jazz to gain valuable collaborative experience with expert coaching from professional musicians who work in a contemporary vernacular of improvisation and spontaneous composition, yet have a deep knowledge of jazz history and forms. This camp may also be an ideal opportunity for Maine Jazz Camp students, alums and others to form strong local relationships on their way to developing their jazz and improv skills. Each week ends with an evening concert open to family and the public.
Titus Abbott (dir. Of the PCM Jazz Studies division) saxophonist and composer will lead the workshop. Groups of 6 or larger class will be co led with local jazz musician TBD and college music student counselor.
Open to ages 12 – 18 with at least 2 years experience on their instrument.
Camp director: Titus Abbott (dir. Of the PCM Jazz Studies division) saxophonist and composer will lead the workshop. Groups of 6 or larger class will be co-led with local jazz musician TBD and college music student counselor.