10/30/14

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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07/22/14

Santana on Improvisation

English: its an image of Carlos Santana Españo...

Certain people are very mental. They need to have rules and concepts and directions and scales and theory in order to play. But that’s not what music is about. Music has the same significance as beams of light coming out of the clouds and giving information to plants. Every note should be like a beam of light. You’re giving information to the listener, and you’re reminding them they also have light and significance. That’s improvising to me. The other stuff is just like going ‘da-da-da-da-da.’ It’s nothing” – Carlos Santana

 

06/7/14

Improv Quote of the Day: Learn Improv Early!

Jess at her Concert

Jess at her Concert (Photo credit: reutC)

Improvisation is a music skill that should be developed along with performing, listening, and analyzing because it synthesizes all these areas. Its practice, which can start at the earliest stages of music learning, encourages the exploration and discovery of music-making and gives the satisfaction of manipulating music elements without the restriction of the written page.

 

–Marta Sanchez, pianist, director of Dalcroze training program, Carnegie Mellon University

 

 

 

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05/17/14

Byrne’s Book – How Music Works – Quote #1

English: David Byrne playing at Austin City Li...

English: David Byrne playing at Austin City Limits 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been reading a fascinating book by Talking Heads star David Byrne: How Music Works. 358 thoughtfully written and researched pages, plus Acknowledgements, Footnotes, Suggested Readings, and Discography. Byrne has done his homework and writes engagingly about the creation of music, both his own and about many styles and genres, including pop and classical. I like the book so much that I have made it a required text for my fall course for non majors, Creativity in Music (i.e. where music comes from: improvisation and composition). I want to share in successive quotes some of Byrne’s thoughts on the subject. Here’s the first one, from Chapter Nine, Amateurs!
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