What We Do
Teaching programme
Science, theory and media

Science, theory and media

This department offers the students basic knowledge of theory, music history, etc.
The aim is to become acquainted with the tradition and to gain mastery of its rules and patterns, but not for its own sake. The point is to know the origins in order to be consciously innovative (or to recognise innovation). This applies equally to music theory, history, music production and hearing itself.
In spite of all the theory, the focus of this department is to make the content of the lessons of practical value for the performing (improvising) musician.

Teaching staff:

Björn Sickert
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wollmann
Prof. Wolfgang Köhler
Stefan Bienwald
Wolf Kampmann
Stefan Lienenkämper
Gert Müller
Peter Tenner

Head of Department:

Björn Sickert

go to the teachers of this department


Ear training I and II

The aim of this module is the development of a high professional level of awareness of musical sound and the ability to imagine it.
The students learn to recognise sound phenomena with and without the help of their own instrument. A further focus ist he active production of sound phenomena with their own voice.

Ear training III

Here the focus is on the practical application of the ear training skills developed in Ear Training I and II.
This practical course demands the immediate realisation and spontaneous application of the knowledge acquired in the Theory and Ear Training courses. Harmonic progressions and formal sequences must be recognised and reproduced on the student’s main instrument. The overall goal is the ability to perform spontaneously an unknown composition within a short space of time.

Jazz theory I and II

The aim of this module is to communicate to the students the basics of jazz theory. Harmonic phenomena are explained using pieces which gain in complexity as the course continues. Further areas of study are harmonic basics of improvisation, the traditional sound language of jazz, form, harmonic and compositional innovations of jazz.


This module builds on Jazz Theory I and II. One aim of the course is to help the students find their own sound in compositions. In addition, they are enabled to arrange their own or other compositions for various ensembles.

”Classical“ music theory and the history of European music

This teaching model has been specially developed for the JIB.
In addition to the core areas of ”classical” music theory (analysis and style), a broad overview of the history of European music is provided. The combination of these subjects which are usually taught separately facilitates the discovery and making of connections between both areas.

Music production (computer + studio)

This class works on artistic aspects of music production and their technical realisation in the studio and at the computer. Some elements of the module are:
• basic acoustics, electroacoustics and digitalisation
• the recording studio situation (setting goals and planning the recording, placing of the musicians, setting up microphones)
• sound direction (functions of the mixing desk, functions of and connecting the equipment)
•uses of the computer in music production in different computer systems
• artistic and technical aspects of mixing a recording (integrating plug-ins, mastering)
• song production using sampling and sequencing, composition and notation at the computer

Harmony at the computer

The transposition of the music tradition to the medium of today: totally new possibilities open up, but working with computers and software also bring new difficulties. Through learning systematically the use of notation software, printable, publishable scores are produced.

Jazz history

The Jazz History class, which spans two semesters, addresses the development of Jazz from its pre-history until the mid-sixties. It includes social context, comparative listening, insights into styles, influences, personalities, etc… This interactive class has a multi-media dimension which helps students understand in a clear way, and feel closer to, the former generations of Jazz founders, creators and masters.
Each semester every student is required to present a paper on an important personality, style or movement in Jazz History. The presentation must be around 20 minutes, and include audio examples. A written outline of the students paper must be given to the teacher at the end of the class.

Special courses

(attendance voluntary)

Depending on the teaching capacity of the staff, special courses are offered on specific topics which cannot be covered in detail in the compulsory classes, due to lack of time. Possible topics are e.g. extended contrapuntal exercises/analyses, close examination of outstanding individual works, analysis of works by jazz composers and contemporary composers, etc.

Written entrance examination in theory and ear training

A successful pass in this test is necessary for admission to the JIB.

• hearing, naming and notation of intervals (also those larger than an octave), one note is given.
• hearing, naming and notation of triads (major, minor, diminished, augmented, sus 4), one note is given.
• hearing, naming and notation of scales (church modes, scales in melodic or harmonic minor), other jazz-typical scales (e.g. half tone-whole tone, whole tone-half tone, whole tone), one note is given.
• hearing, naming and notation of seventh chords: maj 7, dom 7, min 7, min 7 (b5), dim 7, dom 7 (b5), dom 7 (#5), maj 7 (#11), maj 7 (#5), min major 7, dim major 7, dom 7 (sus 4). (one note is given).
• melody dictation: notation of a CD sample (first note is given).
• rhythm dictation: notation of a CD sample (first rhythmic value is given).
• chord progressions: chord symbols should be added to a given cadence.
• instrumentation: CD samples, instruments involved should be named.
• determining the octave in which individual notes are written.
• writing key signatures.