Notes in anticipation of the Jazz Appreciation course at the University of Texas

I’ve enrolled on an online course in Jazz Appreciation, run by the University of Texas.  The course starts in a couple of days so I just wanted to get a few notes down beforehand.

I have a poor history with Massive open online courses (MOOCs).

I’ve signed up for five or six in the past and completed none of them, which is not impressive.  I wonder what the overall drop-out rate actually is?

Hopefully, publically stating my intention to complete this course will encourage me to keep to my commitment:

I mean to complete this course!

Here are a few things I want to get out of the experience:

  1. In terms of jazz I’m a bit of a conservative.  I enjoy jazz of a set period: late 40s to mid 60s and that’s about it.  I’m happy to stay this way but perhaps the course can widen my perspectives a bit? We’ll see.
  2. I really hate any style of jazz that has a hyphen before or after the word jazz (jazz-rock, acid-jazz, etc etc).  I’m prepared to loosen up on this with the right encouragement.
  3. I can tell if Bird or Miles or Thelonious is playing just by listening but that’s about it, I’d love to have the skill to say, “oh, that’s Lee Morgan” or whatever.
  4. I would like to know the difference in sound between an alto and tenor sax
  5. I’m curious to understand how jazz actually works and come up with some vocabulary to explain just how jazz moves me so deeply, something a bit more descriptive than ‘it makes me feel good’.
  6. Can this course teach me to appreciate drum and bass solos?  At present I find both insufferably dull.
  7. That’s about it for now.

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