School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Brian Stiffler


Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Improvisation, Scatting, Scat, High School, Music Education


Education | Music


Despite evidence that vocal jazz improvisation techniques are valuable tools for increased ear training and vocal technique knowledge, the specific impacts of vocal jazz training for the secondary school chorister have yet to be fully expressed. The singing and musicianship benefits of improvisational techniques matter because they impact the young choral singer and the individual student experience in and contribution to the school choir program. This study expressed the impacts of vocal jazz improvisational pedagogy for the secondary school vocalist as a member of the school choir program and the individual student musician. Guided by Eisner’s model of arts-based research, this qualitative grounded theory research study, as prescribed by Creswell, explored diverse viewpoints concerning the pedagogical and educational benefits of exposing secondary school choir students to vocal jazz improvisational techniques. Perspectives on the benefits of vocal jazz improvisational training have developed through a body of existing literature. To illustrate the benefits of vocal jazz improvisational techniques, this study reflected on the experiences seen in the literature. This study combined a qualitative grounded theory research model including surveys of music educators and bespoke interviews with field experts. The study results showed that students who are given the opportunity to explore vocal jazz improvisation exhibit enhanced musical skills, increased performance bravery, and a broader cultural perspective. In the appendices, the researcher included a collection of vocal jazz improvisational exercise templates for use in the field. Additionally, the researcher also developed a vocal jazz improvisation listening guide for emerging jazz vocalists and a collection of existing instructional videos. These resources are also included in the appendices. This study and appendix resources could advance music education training for future music educators and increase the preparedness of choral teachers through the use of jazz pedagogy.