Sunday, August 06, 2006

Gearing up to teach and write again

If anyone is still checking this blog, since it's been so inactive, I'm back and I anticipate I'll be writing more frequently. It has been very helpful to take some (unplanned) time from writing about improvisation. It's given me time to think about the book itself, and how it wants to be structured. While in my original writing each entry was meant as a draft of a chapter or part of a chapter, or even more vaguely as what I've been taught to understand as "prewriting," the freer, blogging-about-thing-to-do-with-improvisation- aspect is taking over as well.

And, meanwhile, I've had some improvisation experiences. Two recitals on which different pianists and I played an assortment of classical pieces and ended with pretty much free improvisations, and I've given two improvisation workshops: one at a camp for teenage string students, and another for grown-up string teachers. Over the next week or two, I will get descriptions of these experiences posted.

Starting two weeks from Wednesday (i.e., August 23) I'll be teaching in DePauw's first-year seminar for incoming School of Music students. It's a team-taught course in which the students spend not quite half the semester with one teacher, their academic advisor, and the other half rotating amongst four other teachers, having short units on a variety of topics.

My short units will combine improvisation, especially improvised hand drumming, with some work on African music, including learning a couple of African songs and transcribed drum rhythms.

For this, especially the improvised drumming, I'll draw heavily on the work of Arthur Hull. Arthur's website is; it's well worth exploring, especially for those interested in improvisation inspired less by Western music and culture than by African, and those who are drawn, as I am, to improvisation as a mode for personal and interpersonal development. I'll write about my experiences teaching these units, and my longer, creativity-focused work with my own class later in the semester, here, as much as is appropriate.


Michael Pelz-Sherman said...

Hello, Eric! I just came across your web site and blog and I am very interested in helping you with your book. I noticed you cited my Ph.D. disseration in your bibliography and wanted to let you know that it is available for download here:

I myself have not been doing much writing about improvisation lately (too busy raising 3 kids and trying to earn a living as a software engineer), but I have recently moved into a new home in Cary, NC with a nice space for a music studio, and I've been dusting off some old transcriptions of improvised performances which might be of interest. I also have videos and audio recordings of performances of my "microscores" described in my dissertation, which I will be putting on line soon.

I'd be very interested in seeing a copy of what you've written thus far; please email me a copy:

Best of luck to you, and I hope to meet and play some music with you some day soon!

Michael Pelz-Sherman, Ph.D.

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