Improv and Young Musicians

One of my favorite blogs is Dr. Noa Kageyama’s The Bulletproof Musician – he hits it out of the park just about every time. His latest post and one that I highly recommend you read – now – is “Why Improvisation Should Be Part of Every Young Musician’s Training. Wonderful article with some excellent research backing it up. I have only two qualms about it: improv needs to loosen its common association with jazz, as in improv=jazz; improv can take many forms – jazz is just one. And: Improv should be part of not just young musician’s training, but part of the life and continuing training of every musician of any age and instrument.

Pin It

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


Pin It

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




Enhanced by Zemanta
Pin It

The Ethos Collective – classical improv ensemble

English: View of downtown Vancouver from the L...

Downtown Vancouver

I just discovered the Vancouver-based classical improvisation ensemble The Ethos Collective via an article in the Vancouver Observer. Wonderful, fresh, refreshing stuff! Take a look at their web site for more information, and better, more videos. Here is one to give a taste:








Enhanced by Zemanta
Pin It

One Road to Improv: the Tongue Drum

Can you name the item

(Photo credit: willapalens)

The best way for beginners to start improvising is to play simple percussion. You can start right now, tapping on anything, although it is nice to have a mentor to show you ways to acquire skills and provide examples of interesting rhythms and use of accents, meters, timbres, etc. YouTube has an endless supply of all kinds of instruments, rhythms, timbres, ensembles, etc. You don’t need anything fancy – a tabletop or some cardboard boxes will do just fine, but it is also a pleasure to have some real instruments to play as well.

My second favorite percussion instrument (first place: the djembe) is the tongue (or slit) drum. They are not terribly cheap, but you can make fascinating rhythmic patterns with them very easily – the different “tones” add a touch of pitch variety. Note: I am referring here only to wooden ones; there is another class of metal tongue drums – we’ll take that up another time.

Listen to this nicely recorded performance of Tyrone Douglas playing 3 tongue drums:

Chmiller912 gives a terrific performance on a single tongue drum tuned to F minor pentatonic (3:10):


Steve Carmichael show us how to make your own tongue drum in this video (17:30). Thanks, Steve!

Continue reading

Pin It

Improv Game of the Day: Interval Accompaniment

Improv Game of the Day: Interval Accompaniment

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="(Photo credit: Wikipedia)"][/caption] 2 play...

[ read more ]

Tag: accompaniment, improv, improv-game, intervals, music

Improv Quote of the Day: Escape the Trap!

Improv Quote of the Day: Escape the Trap!

Only the strongest egos escape the trap of perfectionism. To solve problems successfully, you must...

[ read more ]

Tag: education, entreprenuring, improv-quote, improvisation, marsha-sinetar

Improv Quote of the Day: Watch Out for Notes and Coloring Books

Improv Quote of the Day: Watch Out for Notes and Coloring Books

When you read music, 
there is a part of your creativity that shuts down. 
It's like learning ...

[ read more ]

Tag: creativity, improv-quote

TED talk by Doireann O'Connor: Developing Creativity and Innovation Through Education (video)

The embed code given for the TED talk of the title turned out to be something else (still interestin...

[ read more ]

Tag: creativity, doireann-oconnor, education, innovation, ted-talk

Improv Game of the Day: Personal Spice

2-4 players. Players use a common major scale – start with C major – but each is assigned a per...

[ read more ]

Tag: classical-improv, dissonance, improv-game, improvisation, spice, spice-tones