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D C DowDell


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D C DowDell will answer questions about Jazz improvisation, composition, chord voicing, scales and modes, practice techniques and ear training. Professor DowDell also enjoys discussions on Jazz musicology and the evolution of style.

D C DowDell is a professional Jazz pianist/composer who currently teaches online Jazz studies at A Passion for Jazz!. Professor DowDell has been teaching music for over 30 years at 2 major universities, several community colleges as well as accepting students for private study.


American Federation of Musicians
National Music Teachers Association
International Association of Jazz Educators


Bachelors of Music Education from UCLA
Masters of Music Composition from UNT

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

"My creed for art in general is that it should enrich the soul; it should teach spirituality by showing a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise... a part of yourself you never knew existed." - Bill Evans

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Students ask, "So how do I improvise?"
There is no 'big secret' to improvisation. Ultimately, one plays what one hears. Listening is key to opening up these endless possibilities. What you hear is comprehensive of what you've heard others play (live or recorded), what you've played before, what your mentors have suggested, what your proficiency allows you and what your heart tells you.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

Music and all Art is an essential part of the "human experience." A basic understanding and appreciation of Music can only serve to broaden ones character and deepen the connection between ourselves and those around us. As public schools are forced to cut back their programs, the private music lesson experience will not only supplement the school, but may eventually replace it in many areas.

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
John05/10/12101010Thanks for the advice I really appreciate .....
Loren06/11/11101010Thank you Professor DowDell

Recent Answers from D C DowDell

2016-04-04 blues:

Hello Andrew and thank you for contacting me through    Soloing is over tone centers not the actual chords. Tone centers are where the chord progression points to. Here are a couple examples:

2015-02-13 improvisation in a jazz performance:

Hello Rohith and thank you for contacting me through    Jazz is more of a "how" than a "what." Almost any piece of music can be played as Jazz if the musician is skilled. However, there

2013-01-31 history of jazz:

Hello Ashley and thank you for contacting me through    Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in black communities in the Southern United States.

2012-10-16 Title of piece:

Hello Richard and thank you for contacting me through    The tune is titled "Body and Soul" and is a popular Jazz standard written in 1930 with lyric by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank

2012-07-21 question about who wrote a piece:

Hello Jason and thank you for contacting me through    Move, recorded by the Red Norvo Trio, is credited to Denzil Best as the composer.      Thanks for the interest.    D C DowDell  Professor


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