Jan 21 2004, 03:09 AM
I was wondering how on earth the ABRSM examiners mark solos in the jazz graded exams. When is a solo for example 'off the wall' and musically non-shaped or extremely good and well shaped melodically or technically good. Would this be based upon the examiners opinion? I think this is a tricky area and very subjective to personal taste. What do other jazz teachers think? I'd be interested to know if the ABRSM give specific guide lines to examiners in this area. One of my students plays some pretty crazy stuff when improvising, compound intervals, growls and mutiphonics hmmmm how would that go down in an exam?
Jan 21 2004, 06:45 PM
You'd have to ask the jazz examiners about this: you're right because personal taste does come into it. However, there are certain qualities that make a solo performer, indifferent, average, good or outstanding, and a jazzer worth his or her salt should be able to recognise these; after all, anybody who's got to the level of being a jazz examiner must have both listened to and played thousands and thousands of hours of jazz.
I'd have thought they'd be looking for rhythmic interest, articulation, variation and dynamism, melodic integrity and creativity, general dynamics, phrasing, tension and release, and build-up of interest and excitement. Lots of other things too, like not just running up and down scales and arpeggios - I suppose the list is endless but I think you get the picture.
Your student who plays the crazy stuff would get good marks if what he played worked well with the tune, but not if it's just crazy stuff per se - that's what I think anyway.