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Title: The development of improvisational expertise in jazz musicians
Authors: Wopereis, Iwan
Brand-Gruwel, Saskia
Boshuizen, Els
Keywords: improvisation
musical development
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Royal Northern College of Music
Citation: Wopereis, I., Brand-Gruwel, S., & Boshuizen, E. (2015). The development of improvisational expertise in jazz musicians. In J. Ginsborg, A. Lamont, M. Phillips, & S. Bramley (Eds.). Proceedings of the Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM, pp. 847-848). Manchester, UK: Royal Northern College of Music.
Abstract: Improvisation is a complex musical skill that takes many years of practice to master. An interesting question is what it takes to start and maintain such long period of practice and which environmental factors influence commitment to practice. This study aims to reveal factors that affect successful and less successful improvisational skill development. The study compared improvisational skill development of a group of six elite musical improvisers to a group of five semi-elite musical improvisers by means of a multiple site, structured case study design. A biographical research method was used to collect data for cross case analyses. Data were analyzed using a combination of a theory-based categorization system and open coding searching for actors and factors that affected vicious and virtuous cycles of learning. Findings on learning during pre-conservatory, conservatory, and post-conservatory phases revealed group differences in intensity and quality of individual practice, group practice (e.g., participation in jam sessions), network activities that create further opportunities for development and work, as well as individual, self-directed efforts and strategies after developing a personal voice. Theoretically the study provides insight into differences in trajectories of identity development, as well as the development of skills that include timing, interactivity, and risk-taking. Educationally, the study helps to understand learning processes that can hardly be planned and entail hazardous transitions.
Appears in Collections:1. FEEEL Publications, books and conference papers

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