A word from the tutors

Doug Niel (Trombone teacher):

Hi! My name is Douglas Niel, your trombone tutor.

The aim of the course is to get you to play with a professional big band and small jazz ensemble. You will learn how to be part of a section and improvise.

To achieve this there will be instruction in the following areas and disciplines:

Understand Your Trombone

  • Understanding the mechanics of playing the trombone
  • How and what to practice
  • Warm up routines
  • Improving sound quality, range and stamina

Music Theory

  • The basics
  • Reading and understanding big band charts & lead sheets
  • Understanding chords
  • Etudes (classical and jazz)
  • Improvisation
    • Scales & arpeggios
    • Solos
    • Licks (in all keys & cycles)
  1. Trombone players through history


  • Rehearsal techniques
  • Playing as part of a group
  • Live performance in front of an audience
  • Andrew Turnbull (guitar teacher): I will be showing you what to do on guitar depending upon the context of the situation: each makes its own musical demands and we must be flexible in our apprach: both stylistically but also in terms of what is needed to suit the occasion.
  • For instance, the approach taken when comping is different in a big band compared to a smaller band or even a really small setting such as a duet or trio. And yet, it's the same chords we must do something with to create our support or accompaniment. The approach is going to be different each time.
  • Not only in comping but also in lead soloing. As a rule, the fewer instruments there are then the more we must do to fill out the sound; and lead soloing is no exception. If there's no other chordal instrument supporting us when we play lead (or worse still, no bassist) then we have our work cut out - a single lead note solo won't always cut it..unless either one is playing a lot of notes and/or outlining the harmony of the progression in a big way.
  • Another approach is chord soloing or chord melody; where the melody or lead line is supplemented with suitably voiced chords that underpin the notes. This fattens out the sound a lot.
  • There are other approaches but the bottom line is that the air must still be filled sufficiently with sound. There also needs to be some sense of forward movement or propulsion; and that's what the bass normally helps to create. Of course, it is possible to play a bass line at the same time either in a chord melody style or to take a 'classical guitar' approach with two or more independent lines running at the same time.
  • Anyway, the point is that we as guitarists must be flexible. This course will teach you how to be flexible by looking at how to approach particular tunes for the different formats covered. It's always about doing something appropriate but to do that we must be flexible'