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Undergraduate Research Assistant

University of Guelph

I’m a third-year English major and undergraduate researcher with ICASP. This is actually the first research-type work I’ve done...but so far, I’m interested in the relationship between improvisation and pedagogy. I will also be studying the role improvisation plays in the local, immigrant Italian folk music scene here in Guelph. And who knows? I might even try my hand at creating or editing multimedia content over the summer. As the famous Chicago gangster Al Capone once said, “It’s important to get as many fingers into as many pies as possible.” ...or words to that effect.

I should tell you that I’m an insufferable music snob with a vast depository of completely useless trivia knowledge. I play classical piano, sloppy guitar and decent bass. Sometimes I even dabble with the accordion in my basement to keep my Italian grandfather happy- whom, I hear, back in the day, was a force to be reckoned with on the clarinet!

I also work as a writer for the SPARK program (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) in the Office of Research, where I beat the campus streets for all the latest scoops and stories involving Guelph-related research.

Improvisation implies a deep connection between the personal and the communal, self and world. A “good” improviser successfully navigates musical and institutional boundaries and the desire for self-expression, pleasing not only herself but the listener as well.

– Rob Wallace