Students are exploring improvisational music in one of the Juilliard core works, Blue Monk.
Blue Monk is a jazz standard written by Thelonious Monk and is a wonderful illustration of bebop jazz at its most joyous. Thelonious Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer who had a unique improvisational style and whose repertoire includes "'Round Midnight" and "Straight, No Chaser".
His compositions and improvisations feature melodic twists and follow his unorthodox approach to the piano, which was highly percussive and included dramatic silence and hesitation.
As part of learning about improvisation across a variety of cultural traditions, students are developing their ability to improvise as a mode of creative self-expression in the Blues genre. In particular, students are consolidating their learning of riffs, blues scale, 12-bar form, primary chords and its inversions in a collaborative composition, which requires creative methods of manipulating Blue Monk melodic phrases using accents, rhythms, articulation and retrograde techniques.