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Learning jazz improvisation

Dyson, Kathy (2008) Learning jazz improvisation. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The process of learning jazz improvisation is investigated in an exploratory way drawing on schema theory as a possible framework, from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. A schema is considered to be an abstract framework in the mind that both structures and is structured by experience. In this thesis, schema theory relating to a number of disciplines, is explained indetail, focusing on cognitive and motor elements in order to relate these processes to jazz improvisation and thus to provide a theoretical model. The model in turn is used to investigate how conceptual knowledge may be abstracted and generalised; how motor skill in musical improvisation may be developed; how cohesion in improvised lines may be generated; how multi-modal aspects of the skill may be integrated; how novel ideas may occur; how the individual voice is created and how improvised ideas may be communicated. This schema theory for jazz improvisation provides the theoretical ground from which a series of educational workshops (involving both groups and- individual musicians), on jazz improvisation learning was guided, observed and interrogated by the author as investigator in collaboration with the participants. A qualitative research methodology is used to collect and then analyse data from the workshops. Evidence from these practical investigations demonstrates the ability for musicians (mainly classically trained instrumentalists), untrained in jazz or improvisation to develop improvisation skills in a naturalistic and holistic manner, which is consistent with a theoretical account of schema theory. The workshop teaching also reveals the value of singing to improvisation development and the recreative/selective nature of memory. The findings, whilst considered speculative and work in progress have wide ranging implications for understanding dynamic adaptive skill and for educational practice, specifically, how knowledge of the schema might help teachers striving to teach music improvisation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Music (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.486544
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2013 15:04
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3627

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