Lose the Sheet Music: A Guide to Jamming for the Classical Stiff

Have you ever wondered how two or more musicians can get together and play without pre-written scores?  Have you ever written lyrics to a song, but didn't know how to begin composing the music?  Ever wonder why so many pop songs sound the same?  

These questions will be answered in this practical crash course on basic music theory.  This course is geared toward musicians who can read music and are proficient in their instrument, but who never learned some of the basic principles of music composition.  The goal is to open up a whole new world of possibilities for the classically-trained site-reader who wants to be able to jump into casual jam settings or write a song with friend.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive course on the minutiae of composition -- rather, a kickstart for someone looking to explore other genres.  

After the 90-minute course, students will come away with an understanding of keys, chords, chord progressions (how to arrange chords into a meaningful sequence for the purposes of jamming or songwriting), melodies, the 12-bar blues, strategies for playing by ear, and how to improvise.

No musical experience required, although the class is designed for those who can play an instrument but missed the boat on learning basic music theory.
  • Lose the Sheet Music -- A Classical Stiff's Guide to Jamming

    Madison Square Park, near Shake Shack

    11 Madison Avenue
    New York, NY

    Introduction:  Learn to Play 20 Pop Songs in 5 Minutes

    1. Keys, Chords, and Chord Progressions

    2. Song structure: 12-bar blues as a model

    3. Melodies, Scales, and Improvisation

    Recap and Summarize

    Jam Session!  (Optional -- Bring your instruments if you want to participate)

    Sun, August 19th, 2012

    5:00 pm - 6:30 pm EDT

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Jason Theobald

Jason Theobald began playing classical violin in third grade through his elementary school orchestra.  While majoring in biology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, he was introduced to old time fiddle and bluegrass music and began taking lessons with Matt Combs, a veteran of the Grand Ole Opry.  He also enrolled in music theory courses at Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music.  Discovering a passion for folk music, yet having no experience playing in informal settings, Jason was forced to start from scratch, attending jam sessions at local bars to steadily build up his improv chops and learning to play by ear.  Jason finds time to enjoy his pastime playing gigs at a local Irish pub when he is not too busy as a full-time medical student.  He is eager to help cut down the learning curve for others who want to branch out.  

Jason is a member of Tacoma Narrows, which play regularly at Paddy Reilly's Music Bar.  In college, he played with Vanderbilt's string band, the Second Stringers, which opened for the Grammy award-winning Alison Brown Quartet during the annual Appalachian Celebration.  As a young boy, he traveled the world learning musicianship with the Phoenix Boys Choir, during which time he sang on multiple tv performances and live recordings, including the Grammy-award winning recording of the debut of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki's "Credo" at the Oregon Bach Festival.  More recently, Jason has done recording projects with local professional musicians, including Danny Lipsitz of Jazz Band Classic.

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Madison Square Par...

11 Madison Avenue

New York, NY

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