Beginning Steps for Jazz Composition

with Vandoren Artist-Clinician Shawn Maxwell

Date Posted: December 03, 2023

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In this interactive video, Vandoren Artist-Clinician Shawn Maxwell discusses the steps to begin composing a jazz tune. Topics include how to build and use an ostinato, use of different modes and strategies for adding difficulty.

1:50 Basic Music Theory- 3 basic modes
4:16 Time to Compose - a Melody
6:38 Time to add some rhythm
11:01 Practice #2
13:58 Expanding a Vamp

More about Shawn Maxwell

Shawn Maxwell is a jazz saxophonist currently residing in Chicago, IL. He has an extensive performing career, touring internationally with various groups. With equal parts genius and toil, Maxwell has become one the preeminent performers in the Chicago jazz landscape. His multi-instrumental talents have been lauded by fellow musicians and critics alike. Equally involved in his performance career, Shawn has an extensive background in clarinet doubling and music education. Shawn earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Millikin University in 1999. You can find out more about his recent projects and compositions on his website:

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