I propose a session on the use of improvisation in theory and aural-skills classrooms. How can improvisation make theoretical knowledge more operational and transferable? How can it increase student engagement and interest? How can one work with and around prior views of improvisation—e.g., the idea it is something that only jazz musicians do? What specific improvisational activities or games are effective, and for what purposes? How can we scaffold activities to build confidence and ability? (See Garrett Michaelson’s essay on scaffolding improvisations in Engaging Students volume 2.)
I would give a brief position paper and mention a few things that I do. I might also give an overview of recent texts by Edward Sarath (Music Theory through Improvisation), Nicole Brockmann (From Sight to Sound: Improvisational Games for Classical Musicians), and Evan Jones and Matthew Shaftel (Aural Skills in Context). We would then open the topic for discussion, pool resources, and experiment with one or more forms of group improvisation.
– Yonatan Malin