Improvisation in Music-education: ”A didactic Utopia or a neglected breeding ground for creativity?”
After many years as a teacher of improvisation I am now concerned about how the music-students of tomorrow can be well prepared as teachers of improvisation. My experience is that there are few teachers doing improvisation when they teach music in school- despite the fact that improvisation is strongly focused in different curriculums. Their “defense” is often that they don`t have good methods or time for improvisation or they don`t have time (they have few music-lessons during a week but an extensive curriculum). Besides it seems quite challenging to many music-teachers. Beghetto & Kaufman say: “One of the biggest fears of teachers, particularly those who are just starting their career, is a classroom in chaos.”. ( Sawyer, 2011:94)
Stacy Dezutter claims :” But improvisation has rarely been an explicit part of conversations about teaching, and because we do not talk much about our improvisation, we limit our ability as a profession to advance our knowledge and capacity for improvising well.” (Sawyer, 2011:27)
A growing confidence on this field, both among teachers, pupils and students is therefore one of my aims.
To improve this situation, we offer our students at our college university; Høgskolen i Nord Trøndelag (HiNT) a training program in improvisation. One method we use is Soundpainting, a sign-language for creative work developed by the American Walter Thompson (Thompson calls it ”The art of Live Composition”).