45 Un-Jazz Improvisations for Unaccompanied Violin

Upon turning 45, I began a series of 45 improvisations for unaccompanied violin: “Mezzi Schizzi”, aka “Middle Sketches”.

Part teaching, part practice, and part music for listening,  each week I’m adding a new episode. You can browse all 42 current episodes in the playlist below.

Download the free sheet music to my solo violin caprice by clicking here!

Feel free come back to this post as we add videos, commentary, and sheet music throughout 2018. 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 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…

It’s a special challenge to improvise for unaccompanied violin, but for sure it’s been worth it to explore this project.

Learn more about our annual gathering the Creative Strings Workshop, held July in Columbus, Ohio.

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.