ONLINE: A Jazz Improvisation masterclass on 'All The Things You Are'

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 | 4-6 pm
Teens & Adults

Pay-what-you-can, Suggested cost of $20 for 2-hour workshop.

Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's 'All The Things You Are' is a tune that everyone interested in playing jazz should know, a cornerstone of the jazz repertoire which is well known as being challenging to improvise on, although in a way that is still accessible to players with various levels of experience.  This workshop, taught by Tom Cleary, will focus on how to develop a short solo rendition of this tune using the format required in recorded auditions for All State Jazz Ensemble.  This format (head in, improvised solo, head out) is well suited to many online jazz performance situations, including  online 'jam sessions' where singers and players perform one at a time.  Developing your skills at this kind of performing is a great way to make productive use of our current social situation, where gatherings for ensemble music making are avoided, but the result is more time that can be used for solo practice that can be applied to ensemble playing, once that returns to the list of everyday possibilities.

Participants are encouraged to learn the tune's harmony and melody ahead of time in a manner appropriate to their instrument and level of familiarity with chords and scales.  All participants should learn the melody (as part of learning to sing the melody, vocalists should, if possible, learn to play it as a single note line on a melodic instrument)  and the lyrics to the tune (instrumentalists should at least be familiar with the lyrics and are encouraged to learn to sing the tune as well as play it).  Chord players should learn to play either the chord changes or the bassline to the tune, or both.  Students who play single-line (non-chordal) instruments should familiarize themselves with the harmony by learning the chord roots and, if possible, arpeggiating the chords). Students who register for the class will receive by email links to charts (in the standard instrumental key as well as some standard vocal keys) and accompaniment tracks.

The workshop will begin with some general warm-up exercises geared toward jazz improvisation.  We will explore various ways of outlining the harmony of 'All The Things You Are', including chord roots, arpeggios and scales.  We will review the melody of the tune, and listen to some examples of how great jazz performers of various eras have interpreted it.  Participants will have an opportunity to share either a performance of the tune that they have recorded or to perform the tune live.  Various approaches to the tune are welcome, including playing the melody only, or including improvisation to some extent.  Performing the tune is not required; those who would prefer to participate in the exercises and watch the performances are welcome as well.  We will end with an exercise where we'll collaborate on composing a new melodic line for the progression to 'All The Things' (or an excerpt from it) using ideas from class members, fusing the class into a collective musical consciousness that models how the brain of a single improviser might work.  

Students in online classes are asked to follow the Flynn's Online Class Code of Conduct:

  • No hate speech, discrimination, or bullying (including cyberbullying) is allowed in Flynn Online programming, video chats, or communications of any kind. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior. Bullying of any kind, including cyberbullying, may result in expulsion from class/camp. 
  • Respect of chosen names and pronouns must be exhibited by participants. 
  • Participants must follow rules and guidelines shared by the Teaching Artist. 
  • Nothing shared within Flynn Online programs is to be shared on any other platforms without the permission of the user. (For instance, do not share someone else’s videos/comments without their permission).

Tuition is pay-what-you-can, suggested cost of $20 for the 2-hour workshop. Click 'REGISTER' and fill in the amount you wish to pay. Email Sarah and Deirdre with questions at, or call Sarah at 781-718-8185 & Deirdre at 845-596-2250. A meeting ID & password to the Zoom class will be emailed to you prior to the start of class. As long as you are able to stream at home, you can take this class.

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