An introductory guide to jazz improvisation for the classical violinist

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


Music Performance

First Committee Member

Glenn Basham, Committee Chair


Improvisation has become a lost art among string players. Although many violinists are interested in learning how to improvise, many do not know where to begin. Due to the lack of available material on the subject, learning to improvise can be difficult. In addition, classical teachers often are not trained or qualified to teach improvisation. This essay is designed specifically for college-level teachers and performers interested in learning jazz improvisation.A renewed interest in improvisation is taking place in the United States, making this the perfect time to develop a guide for violinists to use. This essay is comprised of four sections pertaining to jazz improvisation for the violinist. The first section provides biographical sketches of six jazz violinists who have contributed to the art form in this century and gives background information on three jazz violinists who have been interviewed in this essay. The second section presents interviews with three classically trained jazz violinists on how they made the transformation from classical music to jazz and their recommendations for someone who wants to learn jazz. The third section is a summary/synthesis of information gained from the interviews. It is organized as an introductory course of study and includes materials based on the violinists' recommendations. The fourth section provides a bibliography of resources on jazz improvisation including books, articles, instructional materials, and discographies.


Music; Education, Music

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