Class Notes: Freeing Music Improvisation

Tami Morse demonstrating an arpeggioClassical MPR

September 19, 2014

Each of us improvises every day whenever we talk with friends and family, seek to solve a problem, write, make art, and in countless other ways.

In its purest form, to improvise is to make something up on the spot with only our inspiration as a guide--that is, with little or no structure imposed on our creative freedom. Usually, though, we first accept certain forms or parameters that frame the "zone" within which we improvise.

In music, there's a spectrum of improvisation that runs from sheer invention to more structured kinds of freestyle music-making. In jazz and Baroque music, for example, musicians in an ensemble follow a basic musical form, then elaborate upon it, giving it their own creative stamp.

This Class Notes™ video, Freeing Music: Improvisation, is designed to help teachers introduce students the kind of improvisation and ornamentation typical of Baroque music. It seeks to demystify the idea of impromptu performance, which can seem intimidating at first glance, despite the frequency with which we improvise in our daily lives.

To view more Class Notes™ videos, go here.