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Improvisation in General Music Education: A literature review
Örebro University, School of Music, Theatre and Art. (Aestethics, Culture and Media)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5061-9683
Örebro University, School of Music, Theatre and Art. (Aestethics, Culture and Media)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3758-7541
2019 (English)In: British Journal of Music Education, ISSN 0265-0517, E-ISSN 1469-2104, Vol. 36, no 1, p. 49-67Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The overall purpose of this article is to provide a convenient summary of empirical research on improvisation in general music education and thereby provide guidance to researchers and practitioners, using a systematic, narrative-review approach. By analysing 20 music education research articles, published from 2000–2015 in peer-reviewed journals,we firstly provide an overview of the key features and knowledge of existing research. Secondly we identify how improvisation has been characterized, conceptually before, thirdly, describing the implications of the literature for improvisation in practice. Our article reveals that improvisation tends to be an overlooked activity both in music education contexts and in music education research. Broadly speaking, music education research tends to characterise improvisation within two conceptual frameworks, which have different implications for implementation; ‘structured’, teacher-directed improvisation and ‘free’, child-directed improvisation. We conclude by arguing that music educational research on improvisation is an underdeveloped field and outline a number of questions to be addressed in future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press, 2019. Vol. 36, no 1, p. 49-67
National Category
Musicology
Research subject
Musicology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-52882DOI: 10.1017/S026505171800013XISI: 000466759900005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85048884464OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-52882DiVA, id: diva2:1033958
Available from: 2016-10-10 Created: 2016-10-10 Last updated: 2019-11-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Att lära genom improvisation: en didaktisk studie i grundskolans musikundervisning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att lära genom improvisation: en didaktisk studie i grundskolans musikundervisning
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the growing field of research on improvisation, it is argued that improvisation should be at the core of music education, and in many curricula improvisation is in fact emphasized. However, in general music education, as well as research, improvisation is still overlooked. There seem to be a discursive gap between ‘everyday’ and artistic perceptions of improvisation and the way it is perceived didactically. Improvisation is also a creative music activity form and as such it cannot have prescribed outcomes. Yet, the current goal- and result driven schooling system focuses on achieving prescribed knowledge requirements. This situation constitutes an educational paradox. Through a systematic literature review, interviews with teachers and a practice-based study, this thesis explores the conditions and the role of improvisation in general music education. The theoretical perspective is based on Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy, and his concepts of aesthetic experience and transaction. Results show that improvisation is conceptualised in a continuum between structure and freedom and that teachers’ didactical approaches to improvisation can be oriented towards the process, the subject or Bildung. However, teachers’ perceptions of improvisation as related to jazz and blues sometimes present a hindrance. Combining a practical epistemology analysis with Dewey´s concept of the esthetic event (Dewey´s spelling) provides new insights into the process and content of aesthetic meaning-making. Improvising pupils who have an aesthetic experience can develop expressivity, agency and responsivity (EAR) as well as aspects of embodied, cognitive and ethical knowledge. The transactional perspective and 5 concepts developed here provide new insights in how to understand improvisation in education: as ethically co-creative action, co-learning action, explorative action, a space for imagination and emotional engagement and finally a room for subjectification. This implies a negotiated role for the teacher as co-player. A practical aesthetic analysis (PESA) is suggested which emphasises the specific nature of the aesthetic experience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2019. p. 193
Series
Örebro studies in Music Education ; 10
Series
Örebro Studies in Educational Sciences with an emphasis on Didactics ; 20
Keywords
General Music Education, Improvisation, Transaction, Meaning-making, Aesthetic Experience
National Category
Musicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-77170 (URN)978-91-7529-314-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-12-20, Örebro universitet, Konsertsalen, Musikhögskolan, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-10-10 Created: 2019-10-10 Last updated: 2019-11-26Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, ChristinaGeorgii-Hemming, Eva

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