Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Studio Music and Jazz (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kathryn I. Reid

Second Committee Member

Brian E. Russell

Third Committee Member

Brian Lynch

Fourth Committee Member

Dante T. Luciani

Fifth Committee Member

Raul Murciano


The purpose of this study was to develop a jazz improvisation rubric for the evaluation of collegiate jazz improvisation. To create this measure, research objectives were devised to investigate the aurally- observed performer-controlled components of improvisation, which aurally-observed components should be evaluated in an improvisatory performance, and whether a comprehensive measure could be developed to evaluate such a performance. Published methods on general music performance, jazz improvisation performance methods, jazz pedagogy texts, and statements from jazz educators and performers were content analyzed and cross referenced to determine overarching similarities and create criteria for evaluation. After conducting research, it was determined that the five most frequent component measurement terms used were rhythm, technical facility, tone, articulation, and melodic/rhythmic development. Those components were categorized into the following concepts: Technique/Technical Facility, Expression, Tone/Tone Control, Rhythm, Melody/Motives, Interaction, Harmony, and overall improvisation. A rubric was created using these concepts and included the following dimensions: technique, expression, rhythm, melody, harmony, rhythmic interaction, melodic interaction, harmonic interaction, and overall improvisation. The quality of each dimension was devised from lowest quality to highest quality: does not meet expectations, below expectations, meets expectations, and exceeds expectations. Suggestions for implementation of the rubric in the collegiate setting were suggested, along with areas for further research to determine the reliability of the rubric.


Jazz; Assessment; Rubric; Improvisation; College; Music