For students at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, I will be conducting a series of monthly lectures and workshops on concepts for beginning improvisation starting this Wednesday, Feb 4, 2015.
The short lectures I prepared are primarily aimed to create interest in the art of improvisation using simple musical concepts such as arpeggios and scales. To students who already have a background in improvisation, these lectures serve as a different perspective to some of the concepts they already know. The prepared musical examples and performances are mostly in the jazz idiom, though the lecture contents can be applied to other styles of music which requires the performer to add improvised lines. The contents in each session is geared towards a melodic approach to improvisation; ideas on how to start a motif, how to develop a motif, creating contour and contrast throughout the whole form, tension and release ideas, etc.
After the short lectures, a workshop/semi-masterclass session will follow. During the workshop portion of the event, students are encouraged to come up on stage with their instruments and improvise on a simple chord progression. I will then throw in some suggestions that may work as idea-generating tools using simple concepts (ex: arpeggios and scales). Performance and ensemble playing are also taken into consideration in the workshop portion, which is structured as a masterclass session.