Saturday, July 31, 2010


Exerpt from Chapter Two of Free Improvisation: A Practical Guide

When people get together to do something there is usually an established set of social agreements about what they will be doing and how they are expected to go about doing it. There is a different set of agreements for attending school and attending a sporting event, or for playing in a blues band as opposed to playing in an orchestra.

Freely improvised music doesn't necessarily rely on established musical styles or structures, so many of the common agreements people have about improvising and playing music together simply don't apply. But eventually, every group comes to some kind of mutual agreement about how to improvise together. Whether conscious or unconscious, implicit or explicit, these agreements always exist.

For the purposes of practicing free improvisation, I find it useful to begin with a set of agreements that creates maximum openness and room for exploration. The specific agreements of any group will evolve over time, depending on the interests and focus of that particular group, but the following ideas are a good starting point for exploration...

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