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The Science & Psychology of Music PerformanceCreative Strategies for Teaching and Learning$
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Richard Parncutt and Gary McPherson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138108

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195138108.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021



(p.116) (p.117) 8 Improvisation
The Science & Psychology of Music Performance

Barry J. Kenny

Martin Gellrich

Oxford University Press

Depending upon its sociocultural function, the term improvisation incorporates a multiplicity of musical meanings, behaviors, and practices. A feature common to all improvisation, however, is that the creative decisions of its performers are made within the real time restrictions of performance itself. Improvisation is therefore considered to be a performance art par excellence, requiring not only a lifetime of preparation across a broad range of musical and nonmusical formative experiences, but also a sophisticated and eclectic skills base. This chapter reflects on psychological models and their attempts to simulate improvising processes and constraints; the means by which improvisers acquire performance skills; improvisation as part of a larger, co-collaborative creative endeavor; recent studies highlighting the benefits of improvisation in a learning situation; and improvisation as a means of revitalizing Western education. Practical implications and an integrated model for learning to improvise are discussed in the final section.

Keywords:   improvisation, performance, performance skills

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