Upon turning 45, I began a series of 45 improvisations for unaccompanied violin: “Mezzi Schizzi”, aka “Middle Sketches”.
These are part teaching, part practice, and part music for listening. You can browse all 50+ current episodes in the playlist below.
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Feel free come back to this post as we add videos, commentary, and sheet music. If you download the caprice above, you’ll also be notified when we release scores for many of these improvisations.
These bring to mind 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 regardless of style, form, and harmony.
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For more regarding my approach to Teaching non-tonal improvisation for classical musicians, consider this presentation from the 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 signature voice.
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…
It’s a particular challenge to improvise for unaccompanied violin.
It feels like being out on a ledge. And this has made it all the more fruitful and rewarding for me, as I can hone in much quicker on what it is that I like or don’t like. The process builds confidence after time.
One thing that is difficult for improvisers early on is knowing how to Evaluate their work. I’ll save that for another time, or, if you like, connect with me in a private session here. It’s a great way to get some feedback from me and jumpstart, or reignite, your creative development.
For an immersive experience among other creative players, and a truly unique hang, join us at a Creative Strings Workshop