Monday, June 25, 2007

Audience and purpose

To pull together all the material I've written here and elsewhere on improvisation, I need to have a clear audience in mind. One thing that's had me stuck is not knowing for whom I want to write. In the blog version, I've been writing primarily to myself and a variety of real and imagined readers. In the book version, there needs to be a specific audience in mind.

I don't see where I actually need to write a heck of a lot more than I have already. I have 150 double-spaced pages in the most recent compilation. The main points are there. It's a matter of organizing, editing, and where necessary filling in some gaps or adding (hopefully non-superfluous) detail.

This is the audience I've been wanting to write for: instrumental music teachers (and their older students), especially private teachers, who know there is a lot of talk going on about improvisation (what with the NASM standards and primary/secondary National Standards for Music Education), would like their students to be able to improvise, but don't improvise themselves, weren't encouraged or taught to improvise in their own educations, and don't know where to begin.

For me, there needs to be a clear sense of making-the-world-a-better-place purpose. And now that I think about it, a long time ago I developed a clear sense that one of my purposes in life is to bring Music for People approaches to music-making to the traditional music-education world. Maybe that's the key, as well as what I know the best: bringing MFP-style improv to traditional music education. Organized that way, "how-to," music history, and personal experience can all fit. My personal experience can be relevant in a way that isn't just a staring-at-my-navel sort of thing.


the improvising guitarist said...

I realize I’m not exactly part of your book’s core audience, but I am almost certainly going to read your book (looking for material for teaching improvisation leads to alien places outside your area of expertise including, in my case, books on improvised theater, for example). Ironically, for those outside your core audience, the statement that “the more philosophical it is, the fewer the actual musicians who might read it” may turn out to be false.
Anyway… I wonder how easily the “philosophical” and “personal” is separated from the “how to” elements. Just my two cents, but it seems to me that the practice of improvisation has something to do with individual and collective responsibilities, and the questions of why has as much a place in the learning process as the questions of how. Maybe you need to get those navel gazing onto paper first? Perhaps those philosophical/personal discussions will answer the why and help formalize the how.

S, tig

Eric Edberg said...

thanks, man

I guess the musicians I'm afraid wouldn't read a book with a lot of philosophy and personal experience are the ones I most want to reach--who don't improvise and think they can't. Some of that is helpful, I know. So I'll continue the self-exploration as well.