The Courage to Teach Free Improvisation In and Through a Graduate Music Education Class

ABSTRACT: In this article, I describe my affinity for improvisation in music and life, and for free improvisation in particular as a music making practice. In this self-reflective position paper, I use these practices to help locate and define an authentic sense of self as a music education professor. This paper gives an account of my introduction of free improvisation sessions into a weekly, in-person graduate class in psychology and sociology related to music education. Drawing on relevant literature and a university-wide learning initiative, I present my reflections and those of my students on the experience of doing free improvisation over the duration of one semester, that led to enjoyment, growth, and flourishing. In closing, I consider the potential for doing more free improvisation in music and music education classes.

Author: Gareth Dylan Smith

Published 9/12/2023

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