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Instruments of Jazz

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Through this course we shall examine the instrumentation of jazz, from the genre’s beginnings to the present day. Attention will be paid to the technicalities, the contribution, and the practitioners of each particular instrument family. Audio, video and live performance examples will be used throughout the course. 

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge of the subject is assumed.

Content of Course

1. Overview of the instrumentation of jazz from its beginnings until the present day

2. Saxophone and clarinet

3. Trumpet and cornet

4. Piano and other keyboards

5. Vocals

6. Trombone

7. Percussion

8. Double bass, tuba, Sousaphone

9. Guitar and banjo

10. Rhythm sections and rare birds (e.g. harp, sarrusophone etc.)

Teaching method(s)

Tutor-led presentation illustrated with video, audio and live performances. Group discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Identify instruments, and families of instruments, which are key to jazz performance and composition;

  • Listen critically to recorded and live performances;

  • Apply a knowledge of historical context to identify changes in instrumentation;

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the technique involved in composing and performing jazz music.


Core Readings


  • Jazz Anecdotes Second Time Around – Bill Crow, OUP 2005, ISBN-13: 978-0-19-518795-3

Web Sources

The tutor will provide relevant links after each class. 


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.