This article is copyright 2003 by Antonio J. García and originally was published in the International Trombone Association Journal, Vol. 31, No. 4, October 2003. It is used by permission of the author and, as needed, the publication. Some text variations may occur between the print version and that below. All international rights remain reserved; it is not for further reproduction without written consent.

Writing Jazz Articles for the ITA Journal

by Antonio J. García

Associate Jazz Editor, ITA Journal


            As a past coordinator of the Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition and an occasional adjudicator for the Frank Rosolino Jazz Trombone Scholarship Competition, I have had the opportunity to observe how the jurors react to the various application recordings. Though no one person’s opinion matters more than another, I share the following for future applicants to consider. And since we’re talking here about the elements that contribute to fine jazz soloing, I hope that readers who are not applying to the Competitions will also find this discussion equally worthwhile.

               Welcome! I am looking for prospective authors who will submit quality manuscripts for potential publication within the ITA Jazz column or feature-article space. I seek material concerning all aspects of jazz trombone performance and education: improvisation, pedagogy, history, theory, introducing children to jazz trombone, trombone technology, artist profiles, jazz trombone education around the world, resources, advocacy, viewpoints, transcribed solos, and so much more.

               Manuscripts from women, minority, and student members are especially welcome, as the Journal would like to provide proper exposure for the best works offered by the entire membership. Can you imagine how many high-quality papers are being written every day by some of the most creative jazz trombone students in the world?

               Here are just a few ideas for future Journal articles:



               I recommend that any prospective author targeting publication in any periodical first examine that periodical for its content and writing style. For example, the ITA Journal, Down Beat, Jazz Times, IAJE Journal, and MENC’s Teaching Music all differ in their approach; and just as you should get to know a music group’s repertoire before auditioning, you should be comfortable with the Journal style before writing. The closer you arrive at that style, the easier it is to imagine it published.

               When ready to formally submit a manuscript, I require that at least the North American-based authors submit a hard copy and a disk (or CD-ROM) to me via regular mail, with the disk including separate files for the manuscript text versus musical examples. Because I receive 20-30 e-mails a day, it would be easy for any e-mailed document to get lost in the avalanche, whereas a mailed copy can go right into my ITA Journal file without even visiting my printer. But if you do not have access to equipment to create disks or CD-ROMs, please don’t abandon your idea: call or write me.

               Authors beyond North America face greater mailing challenges and/or expense; so while I would prefer a hard copy and disk (or CD-ROM) still be sent, I will certainly accept e-mailed submissions so long as I can successfully open the files. Please include “ITA Journal” in your e-mail’s header.

               In either case, do separate your text from any musical examples. Sending a PDF or music file integrating text and musical/graphic examples may slow the review process. Also, if using material copyrighted by others (such as musical examples), accompanying permission may be needed. It is initially the author’s responsibility to determine the necessity for permission according to ITA standards, to obtain it as needed, and to submit it with the manuscript.

               We all know human error, much less misinterpretation, can occur in the editing process. If your material is accepted for the Journal, you will approve my final edit before publication. As an author submitting works to various publications myself, I am aware of the time and effort that goes into creating a manuscript and wish to assist you in any way I can. I have never sent out a “rejection letter” without supplying the reasons for concern. If your submitted material is not accepted for publication in the jazz areas of the ITA Journal, I will offer any constructive suggestions I can. Should you wish to incorporate that advice and re-structure your material, you can do so, possibly leading to publication of the revised manuscript.


Frequently Asked Questions

               Some of the most frequently asked questions about publication include the following:

How many words/pages should my manuscript be?

               Your material should be the appropriate length to get your message across. We do not expressly demand that manuscripts be of certain length: our need is for quality content. Our goal is concise, effective articles—plus short tips of great value.

What’s your deadline for the next issue?

               The Journal is planned gradually several months prior to the release date; so if you have to ask this question, you’re probably already too late. Let me know if you have material that is time-sensitive, and I’ll evaluate if we can offer a practical release date. Otherwise, simply get your material to me as soon as possible: I may not be sure what’s going into the next issue!

How much do you pay?

               Authors are volunteers (including me). ITA considers it a service to education, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t external benefits for having your material published here: people do read the Journal.

Can I submit my article that was previously published in another periodical—or that represents part of my future book?

               The ITA is generally not interested in reprinting articles that have previously appeared or may yet appear in periodicals of similar circulation size and/or readership. But we welcome the opportunity to evaluate articles that might have appeared in other publications of smaller or regional scope, so long as we have the permission of the previous periodical.

               If you are working on or have completed a book and are willing to educate others about your topic while receiving great publicity, you should certainly consider sending me an informal copy of excerpts you believe might make a “good read” in the ITA Journal.

Do I have to supply the photos, or can you?

               We always seek quality photos from the authors, especially “action shots” of artists, students, and other persons related to the article. But if your topic focuses on an area for which you have no rights to photography—say, an artist from jazz history—we may seek appropriate images from any number of photographers. Keep in mind that you must have the rights to publish any images you might provide us yourself.

If my work gets published by the Journal, who owns the rights: ITA or me?

               This is a great question authors should ask any periodical. A number of commercial and non-profit educational periodicals own all rights to an author’s work after publication. Frankly, this discourages some potential authors from submitting material: if they wanted to create a subsequent book out of a current article, they’d actually have to seek rights from the periodical to do so!

               Journal authors choose to grant the ITA either exclusive or non-exclusive rights to print their material. If the latter, the ITA retains only the right to its own, edited version of the article, plus its design and layout. If individuals or periodicals approach ITA for a reprint, we’ll refer them to you. If you want to use our edited version of your text later in a clinic handout or a book, you can do so only if you have any required permission from the copyright owner of any third-party material (such as photos, transcriptions, excerpts from published works): the ITA cannot give permission for material it does not own. If you wish to make copies directly from the Journal pages, you must seek ITA’s permission (as well as that of any third parties). In any case, we require that the reprint carry a brief statement obtained from the ITA office identifying the Journal as the original source. If you wish to use your own, pre-ITA-edited version of your work, you may proceed without ITA’s permission: the ITA does not purport to own your initial work.

How do you handle copyright permissions for the material I use but don’t own, such as transcriptions I’ve done of solos?

               This answer is complex but necessary. ITA Journal publication permissions need not be sought from copyright owners for jazz solo transcriptions of up to 17 bars of a standard AABA tune or up to 25 bars of blues (two typical choruses), so long as the entire recorded solo originally spanned more than 32 (standard) or 36 (blues) measures. Such publication falls within ITA's interpretation of the Guidelines for Fair Use and requires only that the author of the transcription provide to ITA for appropriate copyright credit the Track Title, Album Name, Label and Issue Number, Composer, Copyright Notice of Publisher (if listed on the CD information), and Copyright Notice of the Recording.

               The ITA relies on the copyright information published on the work, unless there is some immediate reason to believe information is inaccurate. The later discovery of corrected information would not likely be published in a subsequent edition of the Journal.

               Solo transcriptions of up to the above maximum length which represent not so much excerpts as closer to the solo's recorded entirety (due to the brevity of the recorded solo)—and solo transcriptions of longer than the above maximum length—are likely not to fall within ITA's interpretation of the Guidelines for Fair Use. In such cases the author must provide not only the preceding Track, Album, and Copyright Notice information but also seek, receive, and forward to ITA the expressed, written permission of the current owner(s) of the tune recorded (if a newly created transcription) or of the current publisher(s) of the work (if the transcription has already appeared in print elsewhere).* Note that while the performing artist may be perfectly willing to grant permission, s/he may have ceded the ability to provide such a grant as part of a contractual arrangement with the publisher or recording company—or may be otherwise unable to declare ownership of the solo, given its apparent derivative nature from the composed tune on which it was performed.

               In either case, potential authors may seek ITA's assessment of the permissions needed to publish their solo transcriptions. However, the final responsibility for obtaining said permissions will remain with the author of the transcription. Please refer to the search engines available at <> and <> as initial sources for identifying who may own the rights to the tune on which your transcription is based. If you have questions about material you’d like to submit to the Journal, let me know.

Thanks for accepting my material for publication. In which issue will it appear?

               You’ll find I will not promise that your material will be in a certain issue until it’s actually on the printing presses: any number of things could occur to bump it into another issue. I’ll be clear with you that I am “targeting” your material for a certain issue, “planning” for it, “expecting” it; but I will not guarantee it.

Can we make this the cover story of the issue?

               Cover photos need not be related to any story within the issue, though they usually are. For your work potentially to be represented by a cover photo, we require excellent art—usually color slides or photos of the highest quality—though there can be exceptions. And again, I will not promise that your material will be in a certain issue, much less on the cover, until it begins arriving in mailboxes.


               It all starts with you. I hope you will consider joining the ranks of those who have actively contributed so greatly to the Journal. If you have questions or concerns about Journal interest in your potential topic, feel free to contact me in advance for an opinion, especially regarding transcriptions or interviews, as they pose specific challenges for the Journal. You don’t have to wait until you’ve completed a sparkling manuscript: you can check in with me via e-mail by proposing a topic, later offering an outline or “bullet” summary of your key points, or even sending me a preliminary draft of the work. (Please include “ITA Journal” in your e-mail’s header.) Though my sole opinion is a non-binding one (not speaking for the entire Journal process), many authors then receive a greater confidence that all their work creating the manuscript is at least within an informed approach. Here is my contact information:

Antonio J. Garcia, Director of Jazz Studies
Virginia Commonwealth University
922 Park Avenue, PO Box 842004
Richmond VA 23284-2004 USA
(Note that the Post Office Box must be included in the address.)

(Phone) (001) 804-827-0699
(Fax) (001) 804-827-0230
(E-mail) <>

               I thank the ITA members for allowing me the honor of serving our organization in this unique way. Let me know how I can assist you further in our mutual pursuit of knowledge and expression.


*The italicized portion of this policy was modified in June 2008.


               This article has been excerpted and adapted from similar articles I have written for the International Association for Jazz Education’s state-unit and international publications over the years. I am grateful to all of the professionals who have lent me their expertise regarding authoring and editing throughout my career.


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Antonio J. García is a Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he directs the Jazz Orchestra I; instructs Applied Jazz Trombone, Small Jazz Ensemble, Music Industry, and various jazz courses; founded a B.A. Music Business Emphasis (for which he initially served as Coordinator); and directs the Greater Richmond High School Jazz Band. An alumnus of the Eastman School of Music and of Loyola University of the South, he has received commissions for jazz, symphonic, chamber, film, and solo works—instrumental and vocal—including grants from Meet The Composer, The Commission Project, The Thelonious Monk Institute, and regional arts councils. His music has aired internationally and has been performed by such artists as Sheila Jordan, Arturo Sandoval, Jim Pugh, Denis DiBlasio, James Moody, and Nick Brignola. Composition/arrangement honors include IAJE (jazz band), ASCAP (orchestral), and Billboard Magazine (pop songwriting). His works have been published by Kjos Music, Hal Leonard, Kendor Music, Doug Beach Music, ejazzlines, Walrus, UNC Jazz Press, Three-Two Music Publications, and his own, with five recorded on CDs by Rob Parton’s JazzTech Big Band (Sea Breeze and ROPA JAZZ). His scores for independent films have screened across the U.S. and in Italy, Macedonia, Uganda, Australia, Colombia, India, Germany, Brazil, Hong Kong, Mexico, Israel, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

A Bach/Selmer trombone clinician, Mr. García serves as the jazz clinician for The Conn-Selmer Institute. He has freelanced as trombonist, bass trombonist, or pianist with over 70 nationally renowned artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, George Shearing, Mel Tormé, Doc Severinsen, Louie Bellson, Dave Brubeck, and Phil Collins—and has performed at the Montreux, Nice, North Sea, Pori (Finland), New Orleans, and Chicago Jazz Festivals. He has produced recordings or broadcasts of such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Jim Pugh, Dave Taylor, Susannah McCorkle, Sir Roland Hanna, and the JazzTech Big Band and is the bass trombonist on Phil Collins’ CD “A Hot Night in Paris” (Atlantic) and DVD “Phil Collins: Finally...The First Farewell Tour” (Warner Music). An avid scat-singer, he has performed vocally with jazz bands, jazz choirs, and computer-generated sounds. He is also a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS). A New Orleans native, he also performed there with such local artists as Pete Fountain, Ronnie Kole, Irma Thomas, and Al Hirt.

Mr. García is a Research Faculty member at The University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa) and the Associate Jazz Editor of the International Trombone Association Journal. He serves as a Network Expert (for Improvisation Materials) for the Jazz Education Network and has served as President’s Advisory Council member and Editorial Advisory Board member. His newest book, Jazz Improvisation: Practical Approaches to Grading (Meredith Music), explores avenues for creating structures that correspond to course objectives. His book Cutting the Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers (Kjos Music) offers musicians of all ages the opportunity to improvise over standard tunes using just their major scales. He is Co-Editor and Contributing Author of Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study (published by NAfME) and authored a chapter within The Jazzer’s Cookbook (published by Meredith Music). Within the International Association for Jazz Education he served as Editor of the Jazz Education Journal, President of IAJE-IL, International Co-Chair for Curriculum and for Vocal/Instrumental Integration, and Chicago Host Coordinator for the 1997 Conference. He served on the Illinois Coalition for Music Education coordinating committee, worked with the Illinois and Chicago Public Schools to develop standards for multi-cultural music education, and received a curricular grant from the Council for Basic Education. He has also served as Director of IMEA’s All-State Jazz Choir and Combo and of similar ensembles outside of Illinois. He is the recipient of the Illinois Music Educators Association’s 2001 Distinguished Service Award.

Regarding Jazz Improvisation: Practical Approaches to Grading, Darius Brubeck says, "How one grades turns out to be a contentious philosophical problem with a surprisingly wide spectrum of responses. García has produced a lucidly written, probing, analytical, and ultimately practical resource for professional jazz educators, replete with valuable ideas, advice, and copious references." Jamey Aebersold offers, "This book should be mandatory reading for all graduating music ed students." Janis Stockhouse states, "Groundbreaking. The comprehensive amount of material García has gathered from leaders in jazz education is impressive in itself. Plus, the veteran educator then presents his own synthesis of the material into a method of teaching and evaluating jazz improvisation that is fresh, practical, and inspiring!" And Dr. Ron McCurdy suggests, "This method will aid in the quality of teaching and learning of jazz improvisation worldwide."

About Cutting the Changes, saxophonist David Liebman states, “This book is perfect for the beginning to intermediate improviser who may be daunted by the multitude of chord changes found in most standard material. Here is a path through the technical chord-change jungle.” Says vocalist Sunny Wilkinson, “The concept is simple, the explanation detailed, the rewards immediate. It’s very singer-friendly.” Adds jazz-education legend Jamey Aebersold, “Tony’s wealth of jazz knowledge allows you to understand and apply his concepts without having to know a lot of theory and harmony. Cutting the Changes allows music educators to present jazz improvisation to many students who would normally be scared of trying.”

Of his jazz curricular work, Standard of Excellence states: “Antonio García has developed a series of Scope and Sequence of Instruction charts to provide a structure that will ensure academic integrity in jazz education.” Wynton Marsalis emphasizes: “Eight key categories meet the challenge of teaching what is historically an oral and aural tradition. All are important ingredients in the recipe.” The Chicago Tribune has highlighted García’s “splendid solos...virtuosity and musicianship...ingenious scoring...shrewd arrangements...exotic orchestral colors, witty riffs, and gloriously uninhibited splashes of dissonance...translucent textures and elegant voicing” and cited him as “a nationally noted jazz artist/ of the most prominent young music educators in the country.” Down Beat has recognized his “knowing solo work on trombone” and “first-class writing of special interest.” The Jazz Report has written about the “talented trombonist,” and Cadence noted his “hauntingly lovely” composing as well as CD production “recommended without any qualifications whatsoever.” Phil Collins has said simply, “He can be in my band whenever he wants.” García is also the subject of an extensive interview within Bonanza: Insights and Wisdom from Professional Jazz Trombonists (Advance Music), profiled along with such artists as Bill Watrous, Mike Davis, Bill Reichenbach, Wayne Andre, John Fedchock, Conrad Herwig, Steve Turre, Jim Pugh, and Ed Neumeister.

The Secretary of the Board of The Midwest Clinic, Mr. García has adjudicated festivals and presented clinics in Canada, Europe, Australia, The Middle East, and South Africa, including creativity workshops for Motorola, Inc.’s international management executives. The partnership he created between VCU Jazz and the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal merited the 2013 VCU Community Engagement Award for Research. He has served as adjudicator for the International Trombone Association’s Frank Rosolino, Carl Fontana, and Rath Jazz Trombone Scholarship competitions and the Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble competition and has been asked to serve on Arts Midwest’s “Midwest Jazz Masters” panel and the Virginia Commission for the Arts “Artist Fellowship in Music Composition” panel. He has been repeatedly published in Down Beat; JAZZed; Jazz Improv; Music, Inc.; The International Musician; The Instrumentalist; and the journals of NAfME, IAJE, ITA, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Percussive Arts Society, Arts Midwest, Illinois Music Educators Association, and Illinois Association of School Boards. Previous to VCU, he served as Associate Professor and Coordinator of Combos at Northwestern University, where he taught jazz and integrated arts, was Jazz Coordinator for the National High School Music Institute, and for four years directed the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Formerly the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University, he was selected by students and faculty there as the recipient of a 1992 “Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching” award and nominated as its candidate for 1992 CASE “U.S. Professor of the Year” (one of 434 nationwide). He was recipient of the VCU School of the Arts’ 2015 Faculty Award of Excellence for his teaching, research, and service. Visit his web site at <>.

| Top |

If you entered this page via a search engine and would like to visit more of this site, please click | Home |.

For further information on the International Trombone Association Journal, see Selected Links.