The Rules of Improvisation

1. Be present in the now.

2. Listen.

3. Play.

4. Be willing to take a risk or make a fool or yourself.

5. Try to make sense.

6. Take into account what others may be playing.

7. Realize that you already have what you need. 

8. Vary what you do within all of the elements of music.

9. Understand that there are no mistakes.

10. Establish a system as it emerges.

11. Be open to changes in the system. 

12. Feel what you are doing.

13. Serve the meaning in the music

14. Don’t feed the audience more than they can eat.

15. Let the music tell you where to go. When we improvise, we walk the line between everything we have ever heard and chaos. We take meaning from what we have heard in the past and we add new creative patterns that we borrow from nature’s chaos. 

Musical Systems That We Can Use to Improvise

Tonal Music

Polytonality

Chromaticism

Serialism

Musique Concrete

Ancient Modes

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