Essential Elements: For Jazz Ensembles
· Conductor’s Score is a good size, gives pointers and rehearsal tips before almost every piece.
· Every instrument on pages 2 and 3 explains the basics of jazz.
· Both jazz percussion & guitar approach is beginner.
· Conductor’s book has important performers of each instrument
· Conductor’s book also has recordings for the performers…even flute and vibes!
· Has all the different scales: blues, etc.
· Shows rhythmic notation with the notes for many of the first pieces per unit. (ie-pg. 31 #119 scale notated for instrument improvisation, but NOT for piano and bass.
· Sequence moves fairly well, do a review of material before moving onto a new subject.
· Conductor’s score does not include some instrumentation, ie: clarinet and flute.
· No fingering charts
· Should be approached later in the student’s learning due to difficulty of books and since most books don’t approach the student as a beginning (ie-no finger charts, set-up, embouchure, playing position, etc.)
· Series is attractive, but the only color used on the inside cover is butter yellow.
· Plus on appearance: scattered throughout the book are pictures of famous musicians.
The drums book is pretty good. Like the other rhythm section books,
it first starts with a great description of the roll the rhythm section plays in the band and what other instruments make up the rhythm section. After that, in two pages, it covers the percussion instruments required for drum set, the set-up, drum set notation, and
the 2 different stick grips.
One thing Steinel overlooks is a THRONE on a drumset. It is not included as part of the instruments for the set. I feel it plays the most important roll in setting up the drums because of the vertical position (how high or low) it is set at.
Although they do a great short explanation of all this, I do not think it is enough for some students to really get a good first understanding on most of all; setting up, and the stick grips. Being a visual learner myself, I would like to see better, colorful pictures that have arrows pointing to key spots and instruments. I do not think a student will
understand much about setting up except for how it is SUPPOSE to look when they are done. I do not think a student will understand how to properly play with matched grip and traditional grip after seeing a picture and attempting to understand the 2 paragraphs that describe the grips. The colors are boring and the material is boring. More so, being humorous, the common personality of a drummer would not appeal to this material and would rather just "do it how he wants to."
I think it is important to explain why having the set-up and stick grips are so vital for becoming a better player in the future. At the same time, it should be stressed that playing fast takes perfect technique and also how it is not important to playing the drums what so ever. I think a lot of new drummers will listen to popular drummers
and be attracted more to quicker playing instead of melodic, groove based playing and so maybe a sentence or 2 about this would be beneficial.
Finally, the rest of the book is pretty good at introducing the Jazz style to a beginning student. I really appreciate that Steinel shows the scales and harmony. Also, he has some exercises with notation such as the scales or harmonies pretty regularly in this book. Some of the greatest Jazz drummers are great because they understand more than just the drums and so I think it is great for students to start learning other concepts in Jazz as soon as they can.
a. The series works on composing from an improvisational point of view, not so much composing via planning.
7. Evaluating music and music performances.
a. I would say the pictures of musical examples and the CDs which are
included with the books completly cover this standard.
8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and
disciplines outside the arts.
a. This is a little uncovered but it does have some good, short bios of historical figures, helping describe the history of Jazz. A neat way of describing the sound of the rhythms in Jazz such as "dot" and "dit" are used in this book and I think that realates to creative arts by using simple vocabulary to describe the non-vocabulary of Jazz notation. Otherwise, it does not compare the music with art and disciplines outside the arts.
9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.
a. As described for number 8, it highly
relates this music with its history but it does not talk much about the culture
during that time nor how it fit within the culture which i
feel is important because this is music created in