IEM: Teaching Improvisation in Spain

Map of the Canary Islands.

Canary Islands

I just received a very happy surprise: a note from Daniel Roca of the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Canarias. Daniel is on the faculty of the Institute for Music Education (IEM: Instituto de Educacion Musical), which has “been developing a methodological system of teaching music in any level… based on improvisation (and its partners analysis and aural skills). Read Daniel’s summary page of IEM in English here. They publish educational materials through their publisher Enclave Creativa Ediciones. Since I only received the note a few minutes ago, I am still learning about Daniel and IEM, but it sounds like we think alike on a lot of issues. Daniel (I glean from the web) teaches composition, is a founding member of #(928), an improvising ensemble, has several published booked, and has won prizes in composition. I look forward to a long and rewarding exchange of ideas with him. Going to the IEM site, let me quote (i.e. copy/paste):

IEM: Creativity and Innovation

The Institute of Musical Education Emilio Molina was founded twenty years ago as a continuation of the educational work of the Professor of Accompaniment and Improvisation at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid, Dr. Emilio Molina. Around it has been progressively developed the central idea that drives us: development of a method of teaching music from improvisation, musical based on understanding, creativity, practice and analysis. This Methods of Improvisation now covers concrete methodological proposals for teaching instrumental (the individual collective, main instrument of the complementary), musical language, analysis, the composition, the choir, musical initiation (in general education or specialized music schools or conservatories), and in general, in all facets and levels of music teaching.

The Institute is organized by Association the same name, encompassing both the founding teachers of the methodology of improvisation and all those that have been incorporated into the project and enrich their experience. Also part of the Association all those who share our philosophy and proposals. Both are essential to the gradual spread of a project that aspires to contribute to a renewal of music education within and outside our borders that we inescapable.

The “IEM Teachers” occupy a central place in this project, as we are aware that training and retraining of teachers is essential to educational reform that we need. For this reason we have a compact group of specialists from diverse disciplines to develop the methodology in many different fields and at all levels. This group will gradually incorporating Teachers who obtain “IEM Teacher Certificate“.

For the dissemination of these ideas, el IEM organizations courses Improvisation and Pedagogy, as well as related topics, throughout the entire Spanish territory and abroad. The most important annual event of the IEM is the summer course” Improvisation and Teaching System” combining in Salamanca during the second half of July to about 15 teachers and 100 students during an intensive week of courses taught Improvisation (general or applied to different fields) and Teacher Training, various workshops and Analysis, Composition, Coral formation, Scenic Improvisation, Body Movement and Percussion, inter alia. In this course, which has already been held 16 times, creativity between teachers and students and spontaneously generated activities and proposals of great entertainment and artistic value .

Research is another important facet of development of the IEM. We have held two conferences on the Methodology of Improvisation, and actively participate in the organization of the Congresses of Music Education and Research (CEIMUS), in 2008 and 2012. Also, we have recently marked a milestone with the brilliant reading of the Doctoral Thesis Emilio Molina, soon to be followed by other theses currently in preparation

For the dissemination of these activities, The AEI has the editorial Creative Enclave, that publishes and distributes, inter alia, a wide range of books with educational applications of the methodology of improvisation to the most diverse fields. Also, find on our website and you can download a wide selection of articles IEM on methodology. Within our publications deserve special mention “Musical Vademecum IEM” that practically epitomizes the main analytic concepts we use.

Our intention is that this page is your gateway to creativity and renewal in all areas and facets of the teaching of Music. We invite you to enjoy it and fill it with content, participating and commenting.


It’s clear that they have a lot of material that is not translated into English. I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish. It appears that I now have great motivation to get to work on it….

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