Topics in Improvisation

Course Number

In this course, students explore different topics in improvisation in various musical styles, including rock, pop, blues, and more. Students will explore the melodic styles and content of improvised solos through history, listening, ear training, shared student transcriptions and analyses, practice assignments, and creative performance projects. Students increase their knowledge of the musical choices, issues, and possibilities they face as improvisers. They learn the historical context of their own original work. Students will improve their musical ear and the connections among their musical imagination (inner hearing), aural perception, musical notation, and instrumental performance. They will develop their skills in transcription and analysis, with the goal of gaining a greater command of musical materials for use in their own music. They will experience ways in which the work of improvisers in the past can inspire their contemporary creative work in the present. 

Electable By
All graduate students
Required Of
None; elective course in all graduate programs
Semesters Offered
Spring, Summer
Boston Campus
Valencia (Spain) Campus
Course Chair
Magda Giannikou (Valencia), Marco Pignataro (Boston)

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