Teaching Jazz Standard Writing in a College-Level Songwriting Class Setting

Educator resources

Songwriting has become an essential skill for future musicians. It is inevitable for musicians to write a wide variety of songs according to the ongoing changes of market trends and various commercial purposes. Since there is an increasing need for songwriting classes in academia, it would be beneficial for future college educators to create teaching methods when preparing for the courses. This article provides step-by-step methods for instructors to guide students to write jazz standards. The methods include designing harmonic progressions, composing melodies, organizing the formal structure, and writing lyrics. In the future, I hope to help foster younger generations of jazz classics.

Plus a Q & A with the live audience.

A presentation from the Jazz Education Research and Practice Journal, a publication of the Jazz Education Network.



This event begins in:

This event will begin streaming below then the clock above reaches 00:00:00.




Dr. Theresa Chen is an assistant professor of jazz studies (jazz piano) of Texas A&M University Kingsville. Her performance and research concentrations encompass women jazz instrumentalists, historical improvisations, jazz in Asia, pedagogical methods of jazz/commercial music theory/history, and jazz music applied in Christian liturgies.

charlotte lang

Swiss/Dutch saxophonist Charlotte Lang was born in 1996 in Basel and studied the bachelor and master program at the JAZZCAMPUS Basel under the guidance of Domenic Landolf and Daniel Blanc. She is currently studying the Master of Music in Global Jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston under the artistic direction of Danilo Pérez. In addition she is part of Terri Lyne Carrington’s Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.


From 2015 to 2018, Charlotte she was a member of the Swiss National Youth Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Christian Muthspiel. Since 2020, she became a member of the German National Youth Jazz Orchestra (Bundesjazzorchester Deutschland), under the direction of Niels Klein and Ansgar Striepens. She also plays is the Austrian FJO (Frauen Jazz Orchester→Women Jazz Orchestra of Austria).


In 2021, Charlotte founded her own Quintet the „Charlotte Lang Group“, for what she is composing, arranging and booking. In the fall 2023, her first album will be recorded and hopefully released by a renowned label.


Charlotte plays in the “Swiss Jazz Orchestra” and the “Zurich Jazz Orchestra”, the two professional Big Bands of Switzerland.

Charlotte recently got the unique opportunity to write a monthly blog for the Swiss Jazz & Blues Magazine called JAZZTIME, to tell readers about her time at abroad and specifically her time at Berklee. Her graduate program lasts only until the summer of 2023. She hopes to stay in the United States to enlarge her network and build her musical career.