Theory and practice in idea generation and creativity in Jazz improvisation

Leon de Bruin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    The generation of ideas is an essential component of musical improvisation, and improvising is an integral part of most musical cultures of the world. This article examines the seminal improvisational theories of Jeff Pressing, John Kratus, Alfred Pike and David Sudnow. A comparative analysis identifies common traits of influence and distinct, characteristic differences. A wider view of musical cognitive processing and recent neural studies of jazz improvisers support strategies of novel idea generation and complexity inherent in creativity, improvisation, skills acquisition, cognitive processes of musical idea generation and creative thinking. Wider literature on musical cognition and recent neural studies of jazz improvisers reveal a more intimate view of the brain?s processing of uncomplicated creative music-making that supports suggested strategies for novel idea generation. The engagement of cognitive improvisatory processes reveal both an interesting aspect of cognition that confirms to some degree the assertions of cognitive theorists, as well as providing arguments for advocacy of more liberated, untethered and freer creative improvisation in educational practice. An overview of recent music curriculum development reveals the potential for creative, inclusionary and nurturing classroom practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)91 - 106
    Number of pages16
    JournalAustralian Journal of Music Education
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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