07/25/12

Challenge to You (and to me) – Classical Improv Videos

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I have a great idea whose time is overdue: making YouTube videos of improv games from my book. It’s high time to put my money where my mouthpiece is and start making and posting video examples of the games so that if you’re new to classical improv, you can have some idea what’s possible (of course you can buy my CDs as well for that ;  >   ). I hope to enlist some of my current and past improv students to help out, but what would really be peachy would be to have you, dear reader, join in.

I don’t think it will ever happen that we get a video for every single game, but what would be great would be to have a video from as many categories as possible; also have multiple videos of the some of the more basic and/or more popular games – what I mean is having several versions of the same game to show how different they can be. Or have the same group (or person) do the same game several times, showing the diversity possible. In classical music, the challenge is to do it exactly the same every time. In creative/improvised music, the challenge is to do it differently every time. Just had a brilliant improvisation? Great! Don’t do it again – next time do something completely different.

At this point I have no idea how to upload a video to YouTube, but it can’t be that hard. I will have to learn as I go. At the moment I am in the throes of preparation for fall. I have one sort-of new class, Creativity in Music, about where music comes from i.e. improvisation and composition for nonmajors (50 count em 50) and one freshman seminar: Weird Music. I taught CiM last year for the first time – it was a lot of work to put together (there is no textbook for something like this the way there is for your typical music appreciation course), but terrific fun and very enriching. And of course, planning horn studio activities for the year (some of those may show up in my other blog).

But the future is internet. And video. Time to join this century and learn how to do it. And thereby make access to the vast fun and benefits of improvisation easier for those out there who would like to jump in but don’t exactly know what they’re getting into.

If you’re doing some improv, consider doing the same: videoing it, posting it on YouTube, and sending me the link so I can post it here.

And while we’re at it, how about photos? If you have some fascinating pix of yourselves deep in improv, send one/some or a link.

This is getting back (or to) the one of the original main purposes of this blog – to become a center for sharing what we’ve (improvising classical musicians) done, what we know, what we think. Hopes and dreams.

Put the idea on a back burner. Heck, how about a front burner. And send ‘em in!

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07/25/12

Bill Plake: The Lowdown on Slow Down

Slow

(Photo credit: nsub1)

Laura Lentz has a wonderful blog entitled Innovative Ideas in Performance and Pedagogy that I steal from all the time (thanks, Laura!). She has a sharp eye for beach combing the net to bring back all kinds of articles of interest to musicians in general and improvisers and creative thinkers in particular. My latest theft is a double: she posted a link to an article by Bill Plake: “Deepening Your Improvisational Expression by Slowing Down.” The best thing is for you to click on the link and read the original article in its entirety, but partly for those of you who are impatient and mostly for me so I learn more, I will summarize and paraphrase some of the best bits (Bill is a jazz player, but his thoughts work well regardless of style):

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