Evolving regulatory processes used by students and experts in the acquiring of improvisational skills: a qualitative study

Leon R. de Bruin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The way an improviser practices is a vital and significant aspect to a musician’s means and capacities of expression. Expert music performers utilize extensive self-regulatory processes involving planning, strategic development, and systemized approaches to learning and reflective practice. Scholars posit that these processes are constructivist and socioculturally explained and manifest in individual, jointly negotiated, and shared learning. This qualitative study explores the regulatory processes of four prominent Australian improvising musician-educators and four tertiary improvisation students. Expert and developing musicians’ processes in learning and teaching improvised music-making were investigated through observations of self-regulation, co-regulation, and shared regulation strategies. I identified and analyzed regulatory learning strategies located from practice, training, and experience using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings suggest insights of evolving self-regulative behavior that are dynamic, task-specific, personalised, and contextually contingent across individual and collaborative tasks and activity. An integrative regulatory model of learning offers guidance and reflection of metacognitive flow within a social constructed view of learning. Implications for researchers and educators are drawn for meaningful educational practice by knowing and understanding expert improvisers’ complex concepts of self-regulation, critical thinking, problem solving, and the evolution and evaluation of creative processes in improvisers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-507
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • improvisation
  • jazz
  • phenomenology
  • self-regulated learning

Cite this