Free improvisation in education

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


Drawing on experience of working with challenging, excluded teenagers, with young people who have special educational needs and in higher education settings, this chapter describes how improvisation is an important process for education. In Part 1 improvisation’s ubiquitous character and the many benefits of incorporating improvisational practice in education are presented. Research from the field is reviewed with particular attention to practitioner/researchers. Subsequently, in Part 2 the qualitative research project: ‘Articulating perspectives of free improvisation for education’ (Rose 2008) is discussed, with specific emphasis upon the relevance to music education and teacher training. In particular we suggest improvisation is creative, social and accessible and that improvisation affords the opportunity to challenge musical and cultural hegemonies and develop new ways of collaborating and thinking creatively in music. There are a number of texts that are relevant to the theme of improvisation in education and these include: Bailey, 1992; Hickey, 2009; and Rose, 2008 describe improvisation and education whilst Allen, 2002; Borgo, 2007; Ford, 2005; Lewis, 2000; and Schlict, 2008 give accounts of applying improvisation in higher education settings. Stevens’ (1985) ‘Search and Reflect’ may additionally prove to be useful handbook for developing improvisation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInvestigating Musical Performance
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAshgate Publishing
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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