College Level Jazz Theory part 1.
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College Level Jazz Theory part 1.

This course covers roughly the first six chapters of "The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine.
4.2 (7 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
50 students enrolled
Created by Joseph Armetta
Last updated 10/2015
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Students should be able to identify modes
  • Students should be able to identify and play against ii V and ii V I chord changes
  • Students should be able to identify triads and extensions, tritone and other chord substitutions.
  • At the conclusion of the course a student should be able to effectively analyze an approach to improvisation over standard jazz tunes.
View Curriculum
  • Basic knowledge of music theory: note names, meters (time signatures), elementary reading ability in treble and bass clef.
  • You must be able to play an instrument with some fluency. Basic understanding of piano.
  • Students must have reasonable facility with an instrument

This is a course by a musician for musicians. Included in this course are: reading assignments, printable "handouts", audio files and lecture videos. Each module contains about one week or more of information.

Below you will see a required and suggested text for this course. I advise you to get both of these texts to get the most out of this course.

Also, listed are the modules covered and the content explored.

Required text: - The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine. Sher Music Co.

ISBN 1-883217-04-0

Additional Text: The Real Book sixth edition

There are other versions of this text in Eb, Bb, Bass Clef.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is not intended for non-musicians
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Curriculum For This Course
16 Lectures
Start Here
3 Lectures 15:57

Go through Chapter 1.


Inverting intervals


This first lesson will not be graded. Use it as a reference for the rest of the course. If you are familiar with the rudiments of music use this lesson as a refresher. If you have no background with the rudiments of music, this lesson is necessary. You will be asked to comment on these principles on a weekly basis.

Go back to it frequently to reinforce the concepts in each of the lessons and discussions we will be covering in this course. Again, you will not be tested on this lesson but you will be required to understand these concepts.

Preview 08:14

This lecture examines the major scale and the intervals that comprise the makeup of this scale. You will see how chords can be generated from any major scale.

Preview 03:12

This lecture describes what comprises triads and how they can be altered to be major, minor, diminished and augmented triads.

More About Triads
The Major Scale and The Modes
1 Lecture 07:29

Go through Chapter 2.

The ii V I Progression

Vice Leading

The Cycle of Fifths

Other Common Chord Progressions

In this part of the chapter we will explore the ii-V-I chord progression and the modes associated with them. This is the key to what to play when assessing a music chart.

The Dorian, Mixolydian, Ionian Modes and Associated chords

Take this brief quiz to test your newly acquired knowledge.

The ii-V-I Modes
2 questions
The modes of the Major Scale and the ii-V-I Progression. Chord/Scale theory
3 Lectures 19:16

Go through Chapter 3.

  • The Lydian Mode and the Major 7th #4 Chord
  • Mixolydian Mode and the Sus Chord
  • Phrygian Mode and the Susb9
  • Aeolian Mode
  • Locrian Mode and the Half-Diminished Chord
  • Mastering the ii-V-I Progression
The modes of the Major Scale.

Go through Chapter 3.

Chapter Three: Chord/Scale Theory

Why Scales?

Major Scale Harmony

  • The Ionian Scale and the Major 7th Chord
  • The Doran Scale and the Minor 7th Chord
  • The Mixolydian Scale and the Dominant 7th Chord
  • “Avoid” Notes
How to play with the Dorian, Mixolydian and Ionian modes.

This lecture explores how to improvise to the ii -V- I progression. Be sure to download this Quicktime movie play along music file.

Playing with ii-V-I patterns.
Chords and Modes in the tune "just Friends".
1 Lecture 11:46

Play with the chord changes to the jazz standard tune, Just Friends.

Chords and Modes in the tune "just Friends"

Define the modes used in the second ending of "Just Friends".
7 questions
Melodic Minor Scale Harmony
4 Lectures 31:13

A walk on the minor side. This lecture explores modes from the melodic minor scale.

Melodic Minor Scale Harmony

  • The Minor-Major Chord
  • The Sus b9 Chord
  • The Lydian Augmented Chord
  • The Lydian Dominant Chord
  • The Fifth Mode of the Melodic Minor Chords
  • The Half-Diminished Chord
  • The Altered Dominant Chord
  • The Interchangeability of Melodic Minor Chords
  • The Piano is a Color Coded Instrument
  • The Minor ii-V-i and ii-V Progressions
  • Characteristic Notes of the Melodic Minor Scale
Melodic Minor Scale Harmony

More on the minor scale modes.

Minor Scale for alt Dominant Chords

More on the minor scale modes. We apply a minor scale mode to the tune Chelsea Bridge.
Chelsea Bridge Modes and Chords

In this lecture we explore the similarity and difference between the phrygian mode from the major scale and the second mode of the minor scale.

Phrygian mode vs. Mode II
Slash Chords and Scale Exercises
2 Lectures 15:07

Chapter Five

What are Slash Chords?

Slash Chords and Scales

Slash Cords

Chapter Six

  • From Scales to music
  • Sequences
  • The Continuous Scale Exercise
Sequences & Continuous Scale Exercises
Symmetrical Scales
2 Lectures 08:30

Chapter Three

Diminished Scale Harmony

  • What's a Diminished Scale?
  • The Half-Step/Whole-Step Diminished Scale and the V7b9 Chord
  • The Whole-Step/Half-Step Diminished Scale and the Diminished Chord
  • Some Practice Tips

Whole-Tone Scale Harmony

Symmetrical Scales

Download the tune, A Foggy Day by Gershwin and do a chord analysis. Figure out the modes needed to improvise, derived from both the major and melodic minor. Share your findings on the discussion board with others.

Be sure to download the play along audio file to test how well your analysis works and HAVE FUN!

Review: A Foggy Day
1 page
About the Instructor
Joseph Armetta
4.2 Average rating
7 Reviews
50 Students
1 Course

Joseph has been playing guitar professionally for many years, in New York, Montana and Missouri. For 30 years he has been performing, recording, teaching, studying and composing. Learning is a lifelong process.

While at the Aaron Copland School of Music, he studied guitar with William Matthews. He also studied with Edward Smaldone, Henry Wienberg and Bruce Sailor. With Edward Smaldone, a Composition professor who composed his own music compositions via computer, Joseph was introduced to midi composition realizations.

In New York as a performer Joseph can be heard on many recordings. Joseph was a founding member of the Long Island avant garde duet, Inner Landescapes and the experimental music band QUIET featuring Cathedral keyboardist, Tom Doncourt.

He taught guitar at the University of Montana for eight years. He studied with composer Patrick Williams and Digital Tech Guru Dennis Thermond. Joseph has also composed for television, radio, stage productions and small films. He composed the score for "I Am the Longs", the winning feature film at the 2006 PAH-FEST film festival. He also scored and performed a theater production of Anton Checkhov's Three Sisters.

He can also be heard accompanying the grandchildren of Maria Von Trapp on the Von Trapp Children Vol 1, Charlie Russell's MONTANA!, and Off The Wall, The New Jubes & Virtual Orchestra.

In Missouri, he was a regular solo jazz guitar performer at local wineries and ran jam sessions for CMSU music students around town. He has also made several performance appearances on the radio KOKO show “Uncorked". He also studied improv privately with composer, arranger, bandleader, pianist Michael Pagán. At the Conservatory at UMKC he studied classical guitar with Doug Neidt.

In Colorado, Joseph performs with the SLV Big Band. He continued to work with students on jazz performance. He led and continues to lead jam sessions in Alamosa and Monte Vista for students and local jazz enthusiasts. He also directed and arranged tunes for the Adams State Jazz Band and the theater production of "The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis De Sade."

You can hear a sampling of some of Joseph's work at SoundCloud.