Siljamäki, Eeva: Enhancing the plural possibilities of improvisation in music education – Change, collaboration and learning in and through the arts
Despite multiple studies that confirm that improvisation plays an important role in fostering creative growth, learning and equality, improvisation continues to be neglected in music education practices and research. In this study, firstly, a critical examination of visions of
improvisation pedagogy is conducted in order to discover how improvisation is defined and studied in music education research. Secondly, in order to expand the commonly held notions of improvisation in music education the study uses two exceptional cases in choral context. In these cases, improvisation is explored through the lived experience of the participants in improvisational learning environments. The two cases – choral improvisation and an arts intervention in student health care – are unique in that collaboration, sociality and playfulness coming from improvisational theatre are emphasised in their choral practices rather than
exclusively musical qualities. The study argues that in multidisciplinary improvisational environments learning is emerging in and through the arts creating ‘a third space’ allowing for a kind of collaboration that is different from prior social engagements and thereby leads to changes in the life courses of those participating. The study highlights and illustrates the pluralist possibilities of improvisation as a practice legitimated in education on the basis of its deeply experiential, meanwhile ephemeral qualities.