Improvisation


Improvisation relates to any form of spontaneous activity that is not pre-planned. In a musical context, jazz is the form that embraces it the most, but improvisation can be found in all music across the continents of the globe.
Improvisation is in essence a “spontaneous composition”. Every decision is taken in real-time and therefore one cannot alter a decision, only continue forward as a consequence of it. This is what makes it a great learning tool - it teaches you a lot about how to convey different forms of emotion. One can use the backbone harmony of a piece of music as the basis to improvise new ideas over, or one can be totally free to explore the realms of pitch in either abstract (atonal) or concrete (tonal) form.
This workshop will not be about a specific style.
1. It will explore improvisation as an art form and means of expression.
2. It will show you how to prepare mentally, to help banish the inherent “inner critic” that loves to interfere, especially in relation to free form thinking.
3. It will help liberate your ability to be spontaneously expressive.
4. You will discover a very powerful “doodling” tool for all forms of composition.It will discuss solo improvisation and improvising with another instrument(s).

Workshop Content


  • Gadgets for Improvisation – little devices that help
  • Anticipation and retardation – elasticising time
  • Implicit versus complicit time – what you feel versus what your hear
  • Scale Mapping
    • Modal exploration
      • Spices of Life – Secret Recipes!
      • Relatives – unusual chord and scale pairings
      • Scale tones versus non scale tones
    • Chord scales
    • The Sandwich
    • Triad stepping
    • Smoothies
      • Advanced melodic creation techniques
      • Creating lines over chord changes
  • Mental Picture Reflection – translating mental imagery to sound
  • Total Freedom – from free jazz to contemporary classical
  • Chromaticism
    • Inside and outside
  • Melodic Improvisation and Comping
  • Questions and Answers – phrasing
  • Contrast
  • Reference points
  • How to practice

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