Friday, January 8, 2010

Life is one Big Improvisation

It's my motto, because I believe this is the most important point that any advocate of improvisation can make. It directly contradicts the predominant cultural meme that says improvisation is some mysterious, abstract, and hopelessly complicated act, most often committed by an elitist group of weirdos. Oddly, this meme is not just held by people who have never thought much about improvising, it is also accepted by many improvisers, and for some it is even a point of pride.

Life is one big improvisation, and every human is a master improviser. It’s simple and it’s true, and like any simple truth about our basic nature, it extends into every part of our lives. Everything we do, everything we learn, and everything we create is a part of our ongoing improvisation with the world. Like thinking, or remembering, or feeling, it’s both the most incredible magic, and the most pedestrian exercise of a basic human faculty.

It’s a simple truth. Improvisation is a basic part of human existence, something that everyone does all the time, and intuitively understands. I want everyone to know that they are improvisers. I want everyone to feel free to have fun improvising whatever it is they enjoy doing. I want everyone to assume they will enjoy the experience of other people improvising. After a recent show, the father of one of students said “I didn’t think I would like this, but I was really surprised. I could understand what you were doing!”

I consider that to be a great compliment.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Out With the In, Old With the New

A new decade, and the pendulum is swinging. After a time of much ingoing learning (having a child and all that goes with it; thinking, and talking, and thinking, and writing, and playing, and writing about improvising; playing with all the wonderful groups that I so enjoy) this new decade opens with a flurry of going out and outgoing. A new website, a new book, a new CD, an ongoing improvisation series, all this stuff that puts me out there, in front of all of you, doing what it is I do. It's exciting and fun, and often feels a bit daring.

I don't what this blog will be exactly. I do know I will speak my own thoughts, in my own voice, just as I do when I am improvising music. And just like playing music, I hope that someone may find it interesting, or amusing, or even illuminating.

Please feel free to engage me in dialogue of any kind. It would be nice to know that my thoughts don't stop at the end of this sentence...