Beginning Jazz Improvisation: Improvising Using Modes

This badge uses several basic scales, harmonies, and chord progressions to provide an introduction to the application of chord-scale theory. Concepts include the major scale and the maj7 chord, the Dorian scale and the min7 chord, the Mixolydian scale and the dom7 chord, and the Harmonic Minor scale and the tonic minor chord.


Course Objectives:

Upon completion of the badge students will be able to:

  • Spell and execute the appropriate major, Dorian, Mixolydian, and Harmonic Minor scale vocabulary over the related maj7, min7, dom7, and tonic minor chords.
  • Navigate relevant chord progressions with the appropriate chord-scale relationships and melodic vocabulary.

Credit Hours
Success in this 0.5 credit hour course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of 7.5 hours over the length of the course in direct instruction as provided by the instructor and an additional 15 hours outside of class reading, reflecting, and evaluating the topics for a total of 22.5 hours.

Grading Scale: Badge/No Badge

Evaluation: 100% completion of badge criteria


William Flynn

William Flynn playing guitar

Described as “playing a mean guitar” (Wichita Eagle), William Flynn is a Kansas-based guitarist and composer emerging onto the contemporary jazz community with an increasingly original musical voice. William’s recent professional engagements include sharing the stage with saxophonist Bob Reynolds (John Mayer, Snarky Puppy), as well as performances at The Blue Room (Kansas City), the Charlie Parker Celebration Festival (Kansas City) and the Wichita Jazz Festival.  William’s playing and composing can be heard on the Artists Recording Collective label (Traveler, 2017), and Armored Records (The Songbook Project, 2016).  As a graduate student at the University of North Texas, William held the guitar chair with the world-renowned and Grammy-nominated One O’ Clock Lab Band. As a member of the One O’ Clock, William performed alongside such jazz luminaries as John Clayton, Wayne Bergeron, and Terell Stafford, and he can be heard featured on the band’s 2012 release Lab 2012.  As an educator, William has taught, presented, and adjudicated at conferences and universities across the country, including the Seattle Jazz Guitar Society, the South Carolina Music Educators Association, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Missouri, Capital University (Columbus, OH), and South Dakota State University. Additionally, William is the co-author of Mel Bay’s 2016 publication Jazz Guitar Duets. William holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Capital University (Columbus, Ohio), and a Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas, where he held a position as a Graduate Teaching Fellow.  William currently serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz Guitar at Wichita State University, where he teaches applied jazz guitar, jazz improvisation, and directs the Guitar Ensemble. 


CRN Course # Term
17117 MUSC122 BB Fall 2019