Small-Scale Improvisation in the Music Theory Classroom

Authored by: Nancy Rogers

The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138585010
eBook ISBN: 9780429505584
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter presents several illustrations of how improvisational activities can be used effectively in a traditional music theory classroom. Each exercise is followed by a series of analytical questions designed to elucidate the underlying musical features contributing to the intuitive response. When students respond to music through music, they demonstrate their understanding of the relevant concepts as well as their ability to apply knowledge in a stylistic context. By spontaneously generating music that reflects the patterns and principles discussed in class, students prove that this material doesn’t merely originate from a textbook: it arises from their own musical experience.

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