Improvisation Books

Cover of "Free Play: Improvisation in Lif...

The best way to learn (nonjazz) improvisation is to do it – play and play, preferably with experienced partners who can model and advise and guide. Next to that (or along with that), it’s nice to not have to invent all the wheels yourself and have some books on the subject help you along.

The best ones to get (ahem) of course are mine (all published by GIA) Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians, Improv Games for One Player, Improv Duets, Improvised Chamber Music. But there are plenty of other books out there that you should consider looking at if you are interested in this subject. Here are some of them, not in any particular order:

Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play

William L. Cahn, Creative Music Making

James Oshinsky & David Darling, Return to Child: Music for People’s Guide to Improvising Music and Authentic Group Leadership 

Vella, Richard, Musical Environments: Manual for Listening, Improvising, and Composing

Watson, Clark, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity

Mildred Portney Chase, Improvisation: Music from the Inside Out

Rod Paton, Living Music: Improvisation Guidelines for Teachers and Community Musicians

Christopher Azzara and Richard Grunow, Developing Musicianship Through Improvisation

Tony Wigram, Improvisation: Methods and Techniques for Music Therapy Clinicians, Educators, and Students

John Stevens, Search and Reflect

R. Murray Schafer, Creative Music Education


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