Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/learning jazz


When learning Für Elise you look up the sheet music and play it bit by bit before you know the whole song and if there is a piano technical problem you just ask the piano teacher.
How is learning Jazz or jazz-blues different from this?
I had a teacher who once said that it's not good at all to figure out Jazz and Jazz-blues piano rhythm is certain song by looking at the sheet music. What do you as a professor say about this?

Hi Andrew and thank you for contacting me through

Look at the tune & not make the same statement that has been made a million times. The objective of Jazz is not only the finished product, but the path & process taken.

Listening's more important than anything cause that's what music is. Somebody is playing & you're receiving. Transcribe off records. Learn from the masters directly. Keep listening to as much as you can.

Thank you,

D C DowDell
Professor of Music

Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting

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D C DowDell


D C DowDell will answer questions about Jazz improvisation, composition, chord voicing, scales and modes, practice techniques and ear training. Professor DowDell also enjoys discussions on Jazz musicology and the evolution of style.

D C DowDell is a professional Jazz pianist/composer who currently teaches online Jazz studies at A Passion for Jazz!. Professor DowDell has been teaching music for over 30 years at 2 major universities, several community colleges as well as accepting students for private study.


American Federation of Musicians
National Music Teachers Association
International Association of Jazz Educators

Bachelors of Music Education from UCLA
Masters of Music Composition from UNT

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