European Perspectives on Improvisation in Music Education: Five Empirical Studies at a Glance

Una MacGlone, Johannes Treß*, Eeva Siljamäki, Julian Schunter, Carlos Lage-Gómez, Oliver Krämer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

As part of the EAS Conference 2021 in Freiburg, five European researchers gathered for a symposium to present insights into ongoing or recently completed studies on improvi- sation in music education and to discuss the implications to be derived from the results. The initial momentum was the critique that improvisation in international publications is represented almost only by research from the USA, England and Australia (Siljamäki & Kanellopoulos, 2020). The five studies however, underline that practices of and research in improvisation in music education are also gaining interest in different European countries, thus contributing to a broad and empirically based field of research (Heble & Laver, 2016; Johansen, Holdhus, Larsson & MacGlone, 2019). The five empirical studies presented in the symposium were characterised by a high degree of multifacetedness and multidimensionality with regard to the respective conceptualisations of improvisation, the didactic and institutional frameworks and the improvisational practises taking place. In this chapter, we first provide a summary of each study and follow with a comparative overview of their central aspects. We then provide an analysis of the main points arising from the symposium’s discussion. Our contribution reveals the diversity and richness of musical improvisation in distinct educational contexts. We argue that this is not a definitional vagueness, but rather a salient feature of musical improvisation that could be more widely recognised in music education research and practice. Due to the great variety of the studies presented, we refrain from an introductory state of research or even a static definition and delimitation of musical improvisation. Instead, we include current literature on improvisation in music education throughout the article.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic is What People Do
Subtitle of host publicationEuropean Perspectives on Music Education 11
EditorsThade Buchborn, Thomas De Baets, Georg Brunner, Silke Schmid
Place of PublicationRum/Innsbruck
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-3-7113-0138-3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2022


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