Improv Class Echo (letter)

I’ve been giving my Improvisation for Classical Musicians class for over a decade now, and it is gratifying when out of the blue comes some echo from an alum from the class relating to me something about how they have used improv in their lives. I received this note the other day from cellist Emmalee Hunnicutt:


“Wanted to send you a heartfelt thank you for all that I learned from you in the improvisation class I took about 5 years ago.  Here is my first improvised concert that I gave with my pianist friend, Carter (the first piece is Satie Gymnopedie No. 3)”
Thank you so much for providing creative space for and nourishing the beauty that arises from spontaneous creation.  It is something that I will do for the rest of my life, something that deeply feeds my soul.

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New Book! Vocal Improvisation Games for Singers and Choral Groups

Sorry – I don’t have a picture of the cover yet (will add to this announcement as soon as I get one) but: GIA (Chicago) has just published Vocal Improvisation Games for Singers and Choral Groups by me and my co-author Patrice Madura Ward-Steinmann of Indiana University. More than 100 improvisation games for vocalists and vocal groups. Foreword by Patricia Campbell Sheehan. From the Foreword: “Singers, including choral singers and those with a soloist trajectory in progress, as well as those instrumentalists who find themselves drawn to the potential of giving voice to their musical ideas, will benefit from the playful vocal expressions that are invoked here. This collective of “musical gaming” has the potential of releasing singers to a freedom to be musically playful, and of leading them to the joy of discovery of a full rein of musical parameters that can only happen via vocal improvisation.”

You can order a copy from GIA here.

Kind words about the book:

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Classical Improv Jam 3 – Pulsed Drone (video)

Third in a series of duo improvisation videos that illustrate improv games from Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians.


Classical Improv Jam #2 – (video) Drone + Harmonic Series

This time Lin and I trade solos over a drone; the soloist’s notes are limited to the notes of the natural horn, i.e. the harmonic series.


Classical Jam #1! (improv Video)

My book Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians (354 p,. 2008, GIA Publ.) has been out for a while and has enjoyed a certain modest success among classical musicians who would like to start creating their own music (aka improvising). But it has lacked one thing: video/audio examples of what this classical improv thing is. There is of course no one right answer – what it sounds like will depend on whose playing, and even the same players may have wildly different versions of any particular game. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have some examples of a few possibilities of some of the games.  Continue reading

Soundpainting #8: Real Time Loops

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYD_-Bv1dmc&w=420&h=315]...

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Tag: evan-mazunik, soundpainting

Improv Quote of the Day: Sound before symbol

Improv Quote of the Day: Sound before symbol

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="183"] (Photo credit: pfly)[/caption] Audiation expressed t...

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Tag: edwin-gordon, improv-quote

Improv Quote of the Day: Clamoring for Creativity

In today’s world of music education, old-fashioned, lecture-based music appreciation and general m...

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Tag: barbara-freedman, improv-quote

Juan Manuel Cisneros improvises in the style of CPE Bach

Thanks to Daniel Roca for sending the link to this wonderful video of an improvised piano performanc...

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Tag: classical-improvisation, cpe-bach, free-improvisation, improvisation, juan-manuel-cisneros

Improv Quote of the Day: Common Skill?

The ability to improvise freely is a common skill applied whether in conversation, role-play, moveme...

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Tag: free-improvisation, improv-quotes-2, music-education, musical-training