A recent article on the site of the Imperial College of London declares “Brain study suggests classical musicians should improvise.”
Amen to that fair prayer.
There is an accompanying video (6:03) – you should read the article and watch the video.
In case you don’t have time, here’s the gist: Researchers at the Imperial College and the Guildhall School of Music wired up 3 musicians and 2 audiences members to record brain response.
The players played a classical piece twice; once playing the ink, once improvising on it.
Result, in a nutshell: the brains of everyone were more engaged during the improvised performances than during the non improvised performances.
The article concludes with a sentence I really like:
[to help classical music deal with declining audiences] “By incorporating improvisation into classical musical concerts, musicians will create a unique event that will be both engaging and captivating.”
I think I will put that in needlepoint…
PS: There will be more details on the study in the Music Performance Research journal soon.