Thursday, August 19, 2010

Improvisation Is For Everyone

Tom Hall and Lennie Peterson • ARTsWorcester  2010

I improvised an event called “Improvisation in Life and Art(s)” last week with Lennie Peterson and Mark Campbell. Lennie talked about improvising and improvised a drawing of Duke Ellington, while Mark improvised some looped guitar and I talked about improvisation, played sax with Mark, and facilitated some improvised audience participation. At the end, Lennie joined us on trombone for a trio version of Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”.

The people there, ranging from ages 12 to 85, loved it. More than one person told me that they came out of some kind of obligation, but ended up absolutely enjoying themselves. More than one person came to me and said they had never thought of themselves as an improviser, but now realized how much they improvise in their life and work.

Despite my own evangelical confidence in the importance of improvisation, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by how easily and gratefully all these different kinds of people embraced the ideas we presented. Once their awareness was pointed in that direction, improvisation just naturally made sense to them as a way of understanding themselves and the world.

More affirmation - it really is true. Improvisation is for everyone.

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