Improvisation Teacher Resources
Find Improvisation educational ideas and activities
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Learners examine collective improvisation in jazz music. In this music arts lesson, students use a video about a popular jazz composer to discuss the idea of collective improvisation. Learners watch the videos as well as read copies of the dialogue, and discuss the examples of collective improvisation.
Students observe that there are myriad combinations of rhythms to choose from when improvising jazz and blues music, and recognize that while the variations seem infinite, they are in fact finite. They notate a 12 bar blues progression using a different combination of notes and rhythms for each of the 12 bars, and then perform it on a keyboard or virtual piano online.
Students recognize significant developments in New Orleans jazz music. They improvise blues licks using notes from a minor pentatonic scale.
Young scholars watch "The Greatest TV Moments: Sesame Street Music A to Z" and improvise melodic and rhythmic embellishments for the song "O What A Beautiful Morning" or "Rubber Duckie."
Second graders explore setting through improvisations. In this theatre lesson, 2nd graders perform a variety of improvisations in different settings and chart how they established the setting in the different environments.
New! Epic Improvisation
Really? Rapping The Odyssey? Really. A discussion of the oral tradition of story telling and its links to Epic poetry sets the stage for a series of activities that encourage improvisation to integrate music into other classrooms. Improvising to a current event topic and a jazz piece by Louis Armstrong prepares teams to create a rap battle for a passage from The Odyssey.
Tenth graders recognize traditional harmonic progressions such as I-V-I in writing or performance. Students experience improvising simple melodic patterns based on traditional harmonic progressions.
Tenth graders identify and interpret how to recognize traditional harmonic progressions such as I-V-I in writing or performance. They experience improvising simple melodic patterns based on traditional harmonic progressions. By coupling chord identification and improvisation, 10th graders learn that a certain pitch has both melodic and harmonic attributes.
Learners are introduced to the concept of improvisation. In groups, they practice improvising a different scenario given to them and explore the various ways people communicate with each other. To end the instructional activity, they reflect on the sessions in their journal.
Students evaluate jazz music and a jazz music performance. They collaborate and create an improvised group short story. They improvise a musical piece on found objects.
Sixth graders present reader's theatre by improvising folktales from different countries. In groups, they produce an improvisation of a folktale story from an assigned reading of a folktale.
Students practice playing and improvising while playing the 12 bar blues. They practice compositional skills, evaluate and perform musical pieces focused on the blues.
Spend some time exploring various components of theater such as movement, voice, staging, ensemble, improvisation, characterization, directing, technical elements, and self-concept. They perform in various improvisation exercises and experiment with characterization. Develop the literary applications of such activities by watching and interpreting video or live performances of drama.
Seventh graders define improvisation. They take part in first-hand improvisational activities through infomercials. Then they apply improvisation to real-life situations as well as reflect on their experiences.
Students study the ideas of free jazz and improvisation. In this music analysis instructional activity, students read about the Rova Saxophone Quartet and learn about the art of improvisation. Students discuss and practice the methodology to the music technique.
Students watch a video on improvisation. They improvise original melodies over given chord progressions. They develop criteria to evaluate the merits of improvisational performances and apply the criteria in their personal listening and performing.
Students perform improvisations in front of their classmates. They have no time to prepare. The object is spontaneity. Their roles and situations are given to them on the spot and they have to react immediately. Students imaginations begin to soar and ensures richer dynamics.
Students examine the defining characteristics of their own generation. They apply their analysis to learning about previous generations, and synthesize their learning by creating improvisational skits and writing creative essays.
Learners participate in a class discussion about jazz music, compare improvisation with regular conversion, listen to various jazz musicians and compare and contrast their individual sounds.
Read then role-play the characters from story of If You Give A Pig a Pancake. Young actors use improvisation and characterization to create the characters from the story. They will also write and role play original version of the story (this can be done in a group with younger learners).