Upon turning 45, I decided to release a series of 45 improvisations called “Mezzi Schizzi”, AKA “Middle Sketches”.
The series is part teaching, part practice, and part music for listening.
Each week I’m adding a new piece in the playlist below.
Download the free sheet music to my solo violin caprice by clicking here!
Feel free to browse the playlist, and come back to this post as we add videos, commentary, and sheet music throughout 2017.
These improvised sketches bring to mind pencil drawings, relying mostly on unaccompanied melodic lines. They’re meant to be direct, vulnerable, and naked. I hope the work will inspire other classical musicians to explore improvisation without limitations of style, form, and harmony.
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For more regarding my curricular approach to non-tonal improvisation for classical musicians, consider this presentation from the 2017 Colorado Music Educators Association conference:
Improvisation often eludes classical musicians, mostly due to training. This post focuses on one approach through which classical musicians can start creating, regardless of their fluency in tunes, forms, styles, or harmony. It’s like the process whereby a three year-old, shortly after picking up a crayon, begins to naturally develop a personal signature.
It was in this way that I first began improvising, in my late teens, unsure what kind of sound I should make, and frustrated with my inability to quickly master blues, rock, jazz, etc…
For more on the same topic, watch this 90-minute presentation given live during the annual Creative Strings Workshop, held every July in Columbus, Ohio. (See “summer conference” on the right sidebar of this page to learn more about the annual gathering of creative string players.)
If you aren’t already subscribed to the Creative Strings Podcast, subscribe on Itunes or Stitcher to get all episodes (free), and enjoy a wide range of conversations at the intersections of music education, creativity, string playing, and DIY music biz.