Creativity and Improvisation Inspiration and Meaning for Music Teaching and Learning
Today we're going to speak a little bitabout improvisation, and I'm going try to help us understand how central it is to musiclearning and music making, and many times in the formal instruction of music it'sa step that's skipped, where students use notation as a point of departure for learningtheir music, and there's not an opportunity for creativity. In fact, much of what'staught actually impedes someone's natural inclination to be creative and improvise.So if we can get a better understanding of what improvisation is, it might help us tomake it more central to music learning and music making. How many of you all think ofyourselves as improvisersé Ah, got some good
hands going up there. Really, we're allborn improvisers, and the idea is to keep that spirit alive as we learn and grow asmusicians and as people living our lives, and primarily in music, the best thing tothink about maybe would be that improvisation is the spontaneous expression of musical ideas.Improvisers interact in the moment. They're able to group things into meaningful chunks,and anticipate and predict what might come next. So, for example, if you're payingattention to me right now in language, you are improvising with me, because you can probablytell me the nextâ€¦ word I was going toâ€¦ say before Iâ€¦ so why should I talké Thankyou very much. No. The idea of learning to
improvise really happens when we learn byear, and it's really fundamental that we remember that learning by ear is central tomusic making. We should be inspired by the repertoire we're learning by ear, and thenuse that as a context for improvising, and then improvisation can inspire our composition,and that provides context for when we read. So when you say learn by ear, people immediatelythink, maybe, in today's world, that somebody who's an improviser might be a jazz musician,say would expect some kind of music like that. This kind of jazz expression came out of danceand also out of the spontaneous interactions of folks who had some interactions togetheraround this music. But if we think about it,
Beethoven, and Bach, and Mozart, and all ofthe heroes of what people call classical music were also great improvisers, and you mightthink of, if I say that a way to be inspired to improvise is through really understandingthe stories that are told through the songs and the repertoire we know, we can think ofa Beethoven symphony in the same way. If you think about the seventh symphony, realizingthat Beethoven is an exuberant improviser, this is one of my favorite pieces. Reallyif we pay attention to that, really what makes that tick is ba baba ba ba. Everybody saythat. Ready, go. Keep it going, for 9 minutesé Righté And that continues, if you keep goingand ba ba, he layers another layer on there.
He goes â€¦ baba. So, the idea of improvisationisn't exclusive to jazz. It's actually something that we do as a part of active musicmaking and actual understanding for music. If you think about a song from Trinidad, likethe song, â€œMary Annâ€�. Do you know that songé â€œAll day, all night Miss Mary Ann.â€�Have you ever heard that songé â€œDown by the sea shore, sifting sand. All the littlechildren love Mary Ann. Down by the seashore sifting sand.â€� It's not far from thatto think about how a lot of music from all over the globe actually has this idea of groupingthis idea and comparing it to this idea this, this vocabulary. This happens in Mozart. Thisidea is something that we can learn by ear
and be inspired to generate our own thoughtsand our own stories this way. So if you, for example, think about the crux of the matter,we really want to be really good at understanding what we're listening to so that we can makea choice. If we have this idea of, â€œdo do do do do do do do do do do do doâ€� as onechoice. Another choice might be to sing this â€œdo, do do do do do do doâ€�. Sing thatfor me. â€œdo do do do do do doâ€�. There's more of you then me â€œdo do do do do do dodo doâ€�. And the bassline is â€œdo do do do or you could choose this line â€œdo dodo do do do do doâ€�. Think about those three options for making some music, and then chooseone, and then sing it, readyé â€œ Do do do
Music Lesson Business Music School vs Freelance Music Teaching
In this clip on quot;How to Run Your Own MusicBusinessquot; I'm going to talk about the benefits of either working with a music school or breakingout on your own as a freelance music teacher. There can be a lot of benefits to startingwith a music school at the very beginning. There's a lot of music schools and they'llpay you, and you might make less per hour than on your own, but you're going to havethe benefit of working with other staff members, other teachers, getting tips and ideas. Theadministrator will deal with cancellations and collecting monies so I really recommendwhen you first decide to be a music teacher to join a music school, even if it's justfor a year. And it will give you great initiation,
and then it's maybe time to break out as afreelancer, try and advertise, and get your own students. But I learned so much from workingwithin music schools. I got tips from other teachers, I got all different kinds of studentsI might not have been able to work with, to get on my own through my own advertisement,and I didn't have to worry about the money in the beginning. So, I suggest that for thevery beginning to work with a school.