When & Where

Quick Facts

  • Availability Late starts accepted
  • Tutor Billy Marrows
  • Course Code W23JPMH02A
  • Suitable For 19 year olds and up are permitted on this course

What you will learn

An introduction to jazz for guitarists with previous experience playing but little or no knowledge of jazz. A great opportunity to learn about the basics of jazz harmony, improvisation, and rhythm in the jazz idiom.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Play a short set of jazz tunes in different styles, knowing the melody and harmony
  • Understand and access the basic scales and arpeggios needed to improvise over simple changes
  • Understand and access the basic chords constructions needed for jazz standards and how to manipulate them and voice-lead well through changes
  • Play as part of an ensemble and effectively comp
  • Know how to play in a several jazz styles by employing typical rhythmic, melodic and harmonic ideas in solos and comping
  • Implement effective practice and transcription methods


  • Full fee
  • Concession fee
  • Class format and activities

    In each term you will learn a selection of jazz standards in a variety of styles (swing, Latin, blues, modal, funk, ballad, etc), leading towards a group performance at the end of term; the summer term will culminate with a jazz guitar concert with a professional rhythm section. Using the tunes as a framework we will look at the following fundamental topics: - Approaches to melody playing. - Jazz harmonic building blocks and accessing voicings on the guitar, understanding how to create and adapt them - expanding fretboard knowledge - Basic scales and arpeggios needed for jazz improvisation and accessing them on the guitar - expanding fretboard knowledge - Turning theory into music using a variety of improvisation tools and techniques - Exploring comping approaches and feels, developing strong comping skills - Approaches to transcription and developing aural skills You will meet other guitarists and be part of a community of other jazz guitar students. Gain confidence playing with others in different roles, eg melody, comping, baseline, soloist, by being part of the class jazz guitar ensemble. Each term will build on the fundamental skills we are developing and dive deeper into a variety of different topics. The classes are tailored round students and content/repertoire requests are accommodated where possible.

    Entry requirements

    At least 3 years playing the guitar in other styles. Knowledge of the major scale and major/minor pentatonic all in the E shape position (starting with root on the low E) ideally as a minimum. Familiarity with basic chord symbols (triads and sevenths). Time to practise between classes and commitment to attend every week. The ability to read music notation would be an advantage but if you can’t do that it will be necessary to at least be able to study the notated melody line using notation/TAB and chord progressions on the handouts and / or by listening to recordings of the music at home.

    What you need to know before you enrol

    Clear practice tasks will be given every week and students must be prepared to spend time working on the assignments and preparing the repertoire for class. Frequent listening to jazz recordings will increase your knowledge and appreciation of the repertoire and of important jazz guitarists.

    What you need

    You will need to bring your guitar and lead to lessons. Amps will be provided if/when needed. Manuscript paper, notebook and writing materials.

    What you can do next

    The course repertoire and content is delivered over 2 years, though you can join at any point and move to Jazz Guitar 2 after any term if you feel ready.