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Improvisation

There is a long, rich tradition of improvisation on string instruments in Western and Eastern cultures. Improvising - in the sense of spontaneous music making without the assistance of printed music notation - is not difficult and can be incorporated into the very first lessons. If students are taught from the beginning stages that improvising is a natural part of what we do as musicians, then it will become a part of their musicianship and will not be frightening or intimidating for them. Waiting until a person is an experienced musician to introduce them to improvisation is a much greater challenge.

There are different types of improvisation required for different styles of music. For example, in Baroque music, ornaments are often improvised. In some folk fiddling traditions, bowings and rhythms may be improvised. In jazz, a solo is improvised using scales and arpeggios.

For each of these styles (and others), there are many great print and internet resources available. A list of some of these resources can be found in the Books and Information section of this website. This tutorial will focus on some of the ways a teacher can begin to incorporate improvising into a string class or orchestra rehearsal.

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