Free Improvisation… Why Not?

Free Improvisation… Why Not?

Improvisation is usually associated to jazz and not to classical (or written) music, although it has been a common practice among lots of performers in the history of music and composers like Beethoven and Buxtehude were renowned improvisers, as well.

Free improvisation was born as sheet music liberation. Some Integral serialism composers in the 60s had imposed certain amount of strichnes in works that even sounded like improvisations themselves. The first free jazz musicians turned up also at that time, and revolutionized this other music genre, too.

Over the last few years, after going to lots of concerts of great musicians (Agustí Fernandez and Quan Lê Ninh among others) in Barcelona, and hearing the great variety of sounds they were able to produce from their instruments I realized that free improvisation, free jazz and contemporary music shared much more elements than they differed, such as the search of timbres and textures of sound and also its structure and development which seem open.

Despite focusing my career as a performer and even not considering myself an improviser, free improvisation seems a very good practice to me in order to work on different kind of sound effects and to create some new compositions from them. Thus, I consolidate my technical skills and I improve my performing creativity at the same time.

I got interested in free improvisation through the percussionist and conservatory mate Núria Andorrà, who has played with some of the best free improvisation musicians who have performed in Barcelona in recent years. Núria encouraged me to work it with my saxophone students and I have to tell you that it is giving me great results as a complement to their musical education: it has allowed me to group students of different levels together and I have realized that it increases their active listening and creativity.

I often propose either my conservatory students or my workshops students, to start our concerts with a free improvisation. Thus, they feel relaxed and concentrated from the very beginning and at the same time we catch the audience with an original and even daring performance.

Here are some of my modest experiences in free improvisation with my students:

  • Concert of the saxophone ensemble at the Conservatory Reus (medium degree students) at “Festival Simfònic” (Reus), June 7th, 2014
  • Students (all levels) Concert at the NZ Classical Saxophone Summer School in Taranaki (New Zealand). January 21st, 2017

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