Rare Dick Grove Arranging Videos

I first came across the Dick Grove Arranging book when I was doing a Master’s at DePaul University in Chicago. We used his material throughout a full year arranging course I completed for horns, strings, and jingle writing.

The concepts he taught completely changed my way of thinking about arranging. The whole idea of manipulating span, weight, and density as a basis for an arrangement was completely new to me. It took me out of the thought process of treating the big band as 4 different sections. After being exposed to the Grove Method of Arranging, I started thinking of the big band as more of a collection of players whereby you could mix and match instruments without always relying on voicing each section as one individual unit.

I stumbled across the following videos on YouTube and thought I would post them all here for you. These apparently come from Dick’s correspondence course that included videos, text, and even phone help.

I especially like the philosophy of getting arrangements played immediately by good players after writing them. Oftentimes I think aspiring writers slow the learning process down because the players that first play their charts do not do them justice enough to make judgements on how good the writing actually is. More often than not they are butchered by less experienced players without enough rehearsal. The result is the arranger comes away with a bad feeling and a lack of confidence in their abilities, when that might not be the case at all.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these.

19 Replies to “Rare Dick Grove Arranging Videos”

  1. George Millsap

    Good stuff from Dick…I remember him from the lecture he presented at the “Famous Arrangers Clinic”
    The clinic was run by Wes Hensel and Billy Byers.

  2. David Cannaday

    Good stuff. I talked to Dick several times back in the early eighties what a Super Nice Guy. The School with out walls. Thanks Jim I’m going to get out my video lessons and brush up on a few things. Thanks again, David

  3. Paul Becker

    Thanks Jim, how can I get more of Dick Groves material and continue
    learning this stuff? Is he still teaching? Or…………..?

  4. Jim Martin

    Paul: Get his book, its probably on amazon. To be honest, I’m not sure if Dick is still alive. His book is great though and I would recommend it to anyone. The whole span/weight/density concept blew my mind when I learned about it in graduate school.

  5. David Morris

    I was fortunate enough to study with Dick when he first opened the Workshop in Studio City, California.5 days a week with this man for 3+ years was a liftime of information about music and life. One of my heros.He is with us by the music of his many students,video and written material, he passed I believe 1997.

    ii V I

  6. Herbert Mims, Jr.

    I really enjoyed enjoyed listening to Dick’s presentation.
    How can I get some of the Videos he produced.

  7. Jim Martin

    Herbert: You might try calling or tracking down where Dick taught (can’t remember off the top of my head), but its a college in Southern CA. I’m sure they still have VHS tapes around. I would think so anyway. Might keep an eye out on Ebay too.

  8. Wolfgang

    Hi Guys, hi Jim!

    Just wanted to let you know that these videos are the first of Dick’s “See It, Hear It, Play It” musicianship course.

    You can view the contents of it and even purchase it at http://www.dickgrove.com/wd/t/httpdocs/coursedesc/shdesc11.htm

    I went through that course and I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in Jazz Arranging, because it lays out the harmonic foundation of Jazz and also of all possible Polychord voicings in a unique way that talks directly to the “natural ear”.

    Dick uses movable do solfeg to relate all chord symbols and chord scales right back to tonality and your natural ear. For example, any dominant chord will have So as the root, Ti as the 3rd, and Fa as the b7.

    Dick has a unique way of teaching all the altered chords (the sound of jazz) to your ear, by first relating each altered tone back to tonality (and thus, your natural ear) using solfeg, then putting them in context to voiceleading in a progression.

    For example, the b9 of a V chord will always be Le (bVI of the tonality). And it will often be part of a line through a progression.

    IImi7 – V7(b9) – Ima7
    5 b9 5
    La Le So

    This of course is true in all 12 keys. That line also is a guidetone line that provides target notes for improv, etc.

    I found this very helpful for relating what I heard naturally to all the “Jazz Theory” (chord-scale-theory, especially all the chords based on modes of the melodic minor scales and the symmetric scales).

    Then there is Dick’s concept of chord families: he organizes all chord forms of contemporary music, from the simplest triad up to 8-part polychords, in just 9 chord families (according to their function).

    Really helpful for jazz writers should be his concept of “assumed roots”. One application of this is to organize your thinking about “upper structure” triads and “upper structure” block chords when arranging for a big band brass section, for example, using basic chord forms for the trombones and “upper structure” triads (possibly with doubled melody) for the trumpets.

    And those are just a few of the unique goodies Dick’s course has to offer. One of the goodies that I haven’t really seen elsewhere is Dick’s systematic treatment of plurality (multiple function of the same tone, chord etc.) that really takes a lot of mystery and confusion out of the “theory” and helps to make the theory a tool for playing, not an impediment to it!

    It is very systematic and comprehensive and contains a lot of written exercise work, eartraining work, and keyboard exercises that visualize harmonic patterns on keyboard. But imho every minute I put into it was worth it!

    If any of you have any questions about it, feel free to email them to me, and I will happily answer them as best as I can.

  9. Mike McKenna

    Great to see and be reminded of the genius of Dick Grove. I did part-time classes in 1978 and the full-time CAP program in 1979 at DGMW (Studio City). I’ve cherished the musical life line his instruction provided to me ever since those times. He truly cared that the information was clearly understood. He showed great amounts of talent in creating and conveying it. Dick Grove was a funny, sincere, honorable, gifted and generous man.

  10. carlos oliveira

    Boy that cough brings me memories :-), I’m wondering if anyone knows how I could get a copy of my Certificate(probably impossible) since I’m now living in Brazil. I graduated in 1986.

    Thank you!

  11. Frazer Rooney

    “Dick uses movable do solfeg to relate all chord symbols and chord scales right back to tonality”

    Does anyone know any good (Cheaper) alternatives that teach anything close to this method? Books, etc?

    Unfortunately the Dick Grove courses are way out of my price range, but the “See It, Hear It, Play It” sounds like it might clear up some of the confusion in my head.

  12. Jim Martin

    Thanks for the info Wolfgang. I have to be honest, I never really did get that solfege stuff. I just hear an F as an F, or G as a G. The solgege always just confused me.

    I agree about your comments about polychords though. On that note, Frank Mantooth’s Voice for Jazz Keyboard make it really simple to understand those. Frank had a knack for explaining complicated things in simple ways. That’s one of the books that I used alot back in the day, for both playing and writing.

  13. GS

    DG is the man. Spoke with him via phone back in the day ..SH/HP is the real deal..

    A way to learn a real useable method….without paying tuition prices..

  14. Son Trinh

    Hi Jim,

    Thank you for having these wonderful videos of Dicks teachings. I really missed those unforgettable days sitting in the harmony class listening to Dick’s lectures….plus his cigarette smokes…..too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hi Carlos,

    Were you the trumpet player? I believe we were in the same CAP-85-86 program.

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