October 2017 Huegel Elementary Bebops Jazz Scat

Rhonda Chalone and Laurie Lang will work together to share some great vocal improvising with the students at Huegel. More to come.



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Jefferson Middle School Strings Jazz it Up

Laurie will be working with Ms. Carol Jenkins and her amazing 6-8 graders at Jefferson Middle School November 2017. More to come! 

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March 1-8 Jazz Residency At Sauk Trail

Laurie Lang & John Becker teaching improvisation to the little jazz kids. 

Sauk Trail students will have an opportunity to interact with professional jazz musicians on Wednesday, March 8 thanks to two grants.

The Madison Jazz Society and the District’s Global Initiative Grant project provided funding for Sauk Trial to have an have an all-school jazz and world music assembly with four professional musicians and special guests from Sauk Trail performing with music teacher John Becker.

Some students will have the chance to “sit in” with the band as jazz vocalists and improvisers. Before the afternoon assembly bassist Laurie Lang Croasdale of Middleton is doing jazz workshops with Becker for each classroom, kindergarten through fiourth grade.

In addition to the jazz artists-in-residence, Sauk Trail students have also had the chance to work with classical musicians from the Madison Symphony in connection with their “Up Close and Musical” program, as well as with hip-hop dancers through a grant from the MCPASD Education Foundation.

“I am very grateful to all of these funding organizations for bringing these performing artists educators directly to our Sauk Trail students,” Becker said.

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So many great high school jazz bassists!

Saturday. Feb 17, I had the opportunity to dig into the blues with 15 amazing young bass players from 7 different Wisconsin schools at Regional Essentially Ellington.

I wish i would have taken a photo. 🙂


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Whitehorse Students Play the Blues and much more

img_1306Check out this video spot from Channel 3000.com


Grant helps jazz to fill halls of Madison middle school


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My Favorite Things

John Coltrane (most famous jazz version of this song)

a young jazz musician in 2016 – Joey Alexander

For improvisation on this tune let’s start by practicing an E dorian scale

E F# G A B C# D E

learn this up and down your instrument as high and low as you know how to play.

Next week we will try some call and response improvisation over the intro vamp in your music.

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Blues Thursday @ Whitehorse


D Jam Blues (known as C Jam Blues or Duke’s Place: 12 bar blues)

Check out these music videos for inspiration and ideas:

Duke Ellington jam- an original “music video”


Ellington Big Band


Ellington Band with Ella Fitzgerald



  1. Play melody    – AA rest rest rest AA AA A— D rest, rest, rest, rest, rest – 3xs
  1. This is the 12 bar blues form:
I chord I chord I chord I chord
IV chord IV chord I chord I chord
V chord IV chord I chord I chord
  1. Harmonic/rhythmic accompaniment: with chops on the off beats 1 2 3 4 – chops: up and down, row bow hold
I –(open)A/F# (E1) I -A/F# I -A/F# I -A/F#
IV – (A1)B/G (E low 2) IV – B/G I -A/F# I -A/F#
V – A/E IV – B/G I -A/F# I -A/F#
  1. Bass Line type of accompaniment
I: D A D A I: D A D A I: D A D A I: D D E F# WALK UP
IV: G D G D IV: G D G D I: D A D A I: D A D A
  1. Arpeggios accompaniment:

D Jam Blues I : D IV : G   V: A

D F# A F# D F# A F# D F# A F# D F# A F#
G B D B G B D B D F# A F# D F# A F#
A C# E C# G B D B D F# A F# D F# A F#
  1. The Art of the Jazz Solo
    1. Messing with the melody – rhythm and notes
    2. Using notes from the scales/making up your own melody:
      1. Major scale – works everywhere too.

D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

  1. Blues scale – magic—it works everywhere

D, F, G, G#, A, C, D


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