Jazz Composition Weekend 

  • When: 13-14th of August 2016
  • Where: The Verdict Jazz Club, Edward Street, Brighton.
  • How Much: £75 per person.
  • Who For: Anyone interested in Jazz Composition (previous jazz knowledge not required).  

Composition on a basic level is slowed down improvisation.  We can relish in having time on your side by applying concepts to help bring out the magic in your tune. Composition is a very important tool to develop as an improviser, after all, it is the same process.  The course will cover the following areas: 


  • Starting the Creative Process; Techniques to get your creative juices flowing
  • Development of Material: How to develop material once you have some ideas
  • Refining of Material - Deciding what is the 'dead wood' and chopping it out
  • Finalising and Arranging - Knowing when to stop 'tweaking' and calling it finished.  Then applying arranging techniques for finishing touches. 


  • How to choose material that is suitable for arranging
  • Level 1 Arranging: 'Massaging Existing Material' 
  • Level 2 Arranging: 'Reflexology' Connecting up important arranging ideas to enhance the Material.' 
  • Level 3 Arranging: 'Deep Tissue Massage' Adding, Taking Away and Changing Existing Material

It will be very practical and you'll go away with a 'toolkit' of ideas and concepts to help you write interesting and well thought out material.  The skills learnt will also be transferable to improvisation and general musicianship.  Using compositions as a means of developing as an improviser is fundamental.  In order to master certain 'sounds' in jazz, I got into the habit of writing tunes that utilised certain concepts.  I.e. tritone substitution, Lydian dominant sound, the altered sound, the diminished sound'.  You can extend this further and attempt at writing pieces 'in the style of' ; Miles Davis, Gill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Duke Ellington.  This is not to compare yourself against the aforementioned geniuses but rather to test your ability to understand what they are doing.


Tutor Wayne McConnell has written and arranged pieces for Big-bands, adverts, independent movie scores, computer games and for his own trio and quartet.