Exploring Improvisation and Its Implications for Music Education


Exploring Improvisation and Its Implications for Music Education
This thesis is centred on explaining and understanding musical improvisation. By developing a philosophical view of improvisation. I hope to show how improvisation is different from other kinds of music making that we generally encounter in educational settings, why it should become an integral part of all music learning, and how we can approach the teaching of improvisation. The bulk of my research on this subject is both an investigative reflection on my own performing experiences as an improvisor and my ongoing thinking about how I can best teach people to improvise. In order to help explain what I
believe is happening when people improvise music together and what this means for music education, I draw on resources from philosophy, religion, aesthetics, psychology, and cultural theory. Because scholarly writings on improvisation are few I have also chosen to make extensive use of excerpts from interviews with four musicians with whom I perform improvised music. Since my playing has been profoundly influenced and altered through my musical interactions with them, I thought it only fitting and consistent that I allow their voices to mingle with mine in the writing of this thesis in a creative dialogue of ideas.
Ph.D. Dissertation
Simon Fraser University