Friday, February 28, 2020

The joy of improvisation

This is a great excerpt from the latest newsletter of my colleague Andrew Hollo :

Jasper, my son, is 10 and first picked up a saxophone in the last term of last year. He’d had a flirtation with guitar for a few years, but practising was always a chore. I remember this well from my own childhood piano playing days: feeling compelled to pound out yet another set of scales, or a boring Czerny piece (does anyone actually like Czerny?). His saxophone teacher has, however, hit on something remarkable. He asks Jasper, every day, to practice three things, all briefly: play a couple of scales, play two (very short) pieces —- and then just improvise for a bit. Play. Experiment. Muck about. Toot and squeak. See what happens. From upstairs this morning, I hear snatches of what sound like a middle eastern melody, and then a Coltrane riff. I go down and Jasper has a big smile on his face, and says, “Dad, listen to this!” He’s excited, and so am I. Question: What role can improvisation play in your working life?

© 2020 Praveen Puri