Intuitive Improvisation


Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky

I’m pleased to announce that the article I wrote for American Music Teacher magazine, originally published in the winter of 2007, is now available on line here . It’s specifically targeted at music teachers who would like to venture into the world of creative improvisation and don’t know where to begin, but would also be useful for anyone who is feeling the urge to create their own music and knows a bit of basic theory.

For me, the key to learning how to improvise was allowing myself to approach the piano playfully, as a small child would, and not to weigh myself down with admonitions or expectations. In other words, to be free to create!

The courage to grow

I’ve been finding Michelle Bennett’s recent posts on her blog very thought-provoking. She’s been extremely courageous in revealing her inner challenges as a student and a professional singer, and how these have led her to psychotherapy and inner work alongside her musical life. So often musicians, like any professionals, are extremely hesitant to reveal anything less than perfection. Yet, the reality is that we are all dealing with inner challenges every day. And, as Michelle says:

“There is no doubt that the process of facing one?s self is hugely difficult, especially if, like many artists, you have been hurt badly or are very sensitive. I would wager that most people will never do it because of the enormous effort required and pain of the task. It is an odyssey.”

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What it means to be Free to Create II

This evening I experienced a different aspect of what it means to be free to create. My husband and I have recently decided to put one evening a week aside for creative pursuits- whether individual or joint- and tonight was the night. I always look forward to these evenings, as I feel I have permission to be creative in a way which feels different to other times of the week. However, tonight I found myself experiencing a certain amount of anxiety and tension at the idea of spending time in this way. As I have previously mentioned, we recently experienced a bereavement, and I found myself envisaging doing some kind of cathartic piece of art- this felt simultaneously as if it would be satisfying and it also felt heavy inside of me, as if it were some kind of obligation.

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