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Summer 2024 MECA

Continuing Education Courses


Intermediate Jazz Improvisation


June 10-August 2, 2024

Course Code



3 Graduate Credits*


$1,125 is due in full with registration.


Intermediate Jazz Improvisation is designed for students who have taken Beginning Jazz Improvisation (or students with prior jazz experience) and are looking to further develop improvisation skills (and how to teach jazz improvisation!) in a systematic manner with a patient and encouraging jazz educator. In Intermediate Jazz Improvisation, we will reinforce and expand upon the basic tools for jazz improvisation (scales, chord tones, and bracketing), identify harmonic concepts found throughout jazz repertoire and how to improvise over them, and develop a robust jazz vocabulary including transcribing short jazz licks and longer 24-32 bar solos.

Each week you will:

  • Listen to an example performance of the tune-of-the-week by a jazz legend.
  • Transcribe/notate and perform a short “lick” by one of the artists on the given recording.
    This will help you build your jazz vocabulary!
  • Learn how to analyze the tune-of-the-week and identify strategies to improvise over the
  • Complete an exercise that will prepare you for successfully improvising over the
  • Improvise over the tune-of-the-week within the guidelines discussed that week.

Instructional Materials:

REQUIRED: Capability to create and submit audio or video recordings. I suggest a simple
setup: smartphone, tablet, or computer with built-in microphone and/or camera.
REQUIRED: You should have at least 2 years of study on your primary instrument and be
able to read treble and bass clef.

*Students enrolled in the MMEd degree program at VanderCook may register for this course at the 500-level through the student portal. Please contact Dean Sinclair at [email protected] if academic advising is needed.


Chat Session

This course is asynchronous. Please contact the instructor to request a meeting ([email protected])


Participants should have completed Beginning Jazz Improvisation as the prerequisite or obtain permission from the instructor ([email protected]).

Required Text(s)

There are no required texts for this course.

Learning Platform Information (Online Courses Only)

Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.

The evening  before your class begins, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit to login. 

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

More information about Schoology can be found at

Please see specific software/hardware requirements in the course description.

Online course grades are available within two weeks of the course(s) completion.  If you need a transcript, please CLICK HERE to access the online transcript request form. For a faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).


Michael Fein Headshot

Michael Fein

Michael Fein earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Rutgers University and a Masters of Jazz Saxophone Performance from Rowan University. Michael has published articles and lesson plans with MET Magazine and Sound Tree. He has presented numerous sessions at music and technology conferences including the 2005 National Education Computing Conference in Philadelphia, the 2009 TI:ME National Conference in San Antonio, TX, and the 2010 TI:ME National Conference in New Brunswick, NJ. Michael currently teaches music technology electives and the jazz ensemble at Haverford High School and serves as an adjunct jazz saxophone instructor at Swarthmore College. Michael’s resume includes performances with Ralph Peterson, Stanley Cowell, Scott Whitfield, Ralph Bowen, Denis DiBlasio, Arden Theater Company, and lead alto work with the great Ray Charles. Michael released his debut CD entitled Four Flights Up in April 2005. The CD features Michael and his jazz sextet performing original tunes and arrangements. The CD was re-released by Dreambox Media in October 2006 and is now available for purchase through,, and select local record stores.
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