Does the Study of Improvisation belong in a Music Conservatory?
â€œImprovisationâ€ is one of those words that has a place in almost any context, from cooking to crafting, sewing to storytelling, poetry to comedy, dance to drama, and mime to music. It also encompasses a wide spectrum: from classical to folk, western to non-western, and amateur to professional. We can think of improvisation as both a skill acquired during many years of study, and as an action that is â€œjust feltâ€ in the moment. In short, improvisation is a big subject and plays a role in almost everyonesâ€™ lives.
During most all of the important periods of our music history, from the modal improvisations of medieval chant, to the extensive art of diminutions during the Renaissance, to the virtuosi cadenzas of solo concerti, improvisation was looked upon as an important measure of a musicians ability. In addition, composers throughout history have used improvisation as a tool for developing musical ideas and to help set an atmosphere for inspiration and creativity. (more…)