Intro to Jazz for Your Band Students

When running a jazz band, directors often ask “My students are new to improvising. Where do I start?”  At Playbook, we believe music is a language, and we intend to teach it as such. That means less focus on rote memorization and perfection, and a greater emphasis on immediate musical engagement and interaction. Check out Playbook’s Level 1 to get your students started with joyful jazz in the classroom! 


PLAYBOOK LEVEL 1 includes our Music is A Language series (Bb Major Scale). This course gets students to make music using call and response. We add one tone from the Bb major scale each lesson. We’ll quickly get a feel for home (tonic) and away (dominant) and how the other tones are in between relationships. We can watch lessons during class with instruments in hand, and repeat lesson exercises first led by the teacher and then the student.


We can also take a look at our Jazz 101: Syncopation Blues (Bb) course, in which students learn music from the ground up with the Playbook Building Blocks of music– GROOVE, MELODY, BASSLINE, and HARMONY.



Students can follow each lesson video with their instrument-specific PRACTICE FIELD MATERIAL packet. They can also log into their SECTIONAL for instrument-specific help. Take a few minutes to watch the HISTORY lesson for important cultural context for each piece. Always reference The Flex® Player to customize what instruments you want to hear at home or in class practice. With Playbook songs, directors can continue this method with NOLA STREET BLUES, THERE WILL BE PEACE, SAINT JAMES INFIRMARY, and YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE.

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