Shed the Music + Noteflight Makes Learning Jazz Easy


In our first feature with Shed the Music we showed off the great Guided Transcriptions from our friends Bob Habersat and Paul Levy. Well, they are at it again and with the help of Noteflight’s online notation editor, they have created some new tools designed to help students learn jazz more easily.

Bob and Paul have observed that jazz improvisation is often taught in a large group setting with the only instruction being, “play this scale on that chord.” They feel that this method doesn’t set students up to succeed and students often get frustrated or intimidated when it comes time to solo. Having students compose their solos ahead of time removes the uncertainty and unnerving element of improvisation.

Etudes Using Noteflight
NoteflightWith Noteflight, you can create etudes to aid in composition and improvisation training. Like all scores, these can be shared publicly or with groups using Score Details in Noteflight. If you have a Noteflight Learn subscription, you can even create and share an activity template that can be accessed and completed by your students.

Bob and Paul have created a few new examples to help students of jazz write their own etudes using Noteflight, and these are available to anyone:

The One-step Blues Etude. Everything required to make a great sounding solo is included in one Noteflight score. All a student has to do is copy and paste melodic cells and licks into the corresponding measures in the blank blues form at the top of the page. After a student has mastered playing their etude, they are ready to use it in a performance.

The Two-step Blues Etude. There is a library of blues licks that have been transcribed from notable jazz musicians and organized into first four, second four, and last four measure phrases. These licks can be mixed and matched together by simply copying and pasting them into a new blank Noteflight score.

The ii-V Lick Library. This etude creation tool on The Shed is for writing solos on jazz standards. The compiled library of major and minor ii-V licks from transcribed solos and anonymous sources is great for creating a solo on any tune. All of the licks have been notated into numbered Noteflight files to make for easy etude writing.

Keep up with The Shed
Bob and Paul are currently working on a turnaround section of iii-VI-ii-V licks along with new guided transcriptions using Noteflight’s media sync functionality. Both of these will be coming out in the next couple of months. To stay connected with The Shed, sign up for their newsletter and follow them on Twitter. It is an open source project, so feel free to contact Bob and Paul for any suggestions on what topics should be added/changed.