In the domain of music, improvisation is often the most widely practiced among all other musical activities. Sadly, it’s the least acknowledged and understood element though. When taking online music classes, you should ensure that improvisation isn’t just an afterthought. Rather, it should be one of the focal points in your online classes as it can help unleash the creativity of your students and provide them with a framework in which they can try out unique ideas freely.
Here are the top three ways you can use to encourage and help your students improvise:
1. Encourage your students’ musical curiosity
Improvisation is often associated with fear and anxiety. One effective way to alleviate these feelings is to encourage musical curiosity in your students. When conducting online group classes, you should try to establish a classroom where willful participation and acceptance are encouraged. When your students become habituated with willful participation and acceptance, they will consider your virtual class to be a safe place for exploring their musical creativity. Thus, such a conducive environment would pave way for improvisation.
2. Don’t put too many constraints
You should make it acceptable to perform original and new music in your online music classes. But remember that improvisation is usually an exercise in creative exploration. Thus, you shouldn’t overwhelm your students with a lot of musical guidelines, structures, and facts. When the improviser’s mind is free from probable cognitive overload, it would help him/her to focus better upon the musical task at hand. But it doesn’t mean your classes shouldn’t have any structure at all when your students improvise. It’s true that a lot of constraints would limit the improviser, who’ll become less able to explore. However, when there’s no or too little structure, the improviser could feel lost and may be unable to decide where to begin from.
3. Find joy in exploration
When teaching music online, you could bring small improvisations. You may call them ‘happy accidents’ and make sure your students notice them. This could encourage them to experiment with their musical learnings amidst a cooperative, enjoyable, student-led classroom environment. Since creative music is exploratory and open-ended in nature, it shouldn’t be guided by what’s right and wrong in the traditional setting. Rather, the emphasis should be on discovery. Thus, some ‘mistakes’ and ‘happy accidents’ can be accepted and even celebrated as they could lead your students to explore new musical pathways.