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Summit on Improvisation, Pedagogy, and Community Impact

ICASP, with generous support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and community sponsors, presented the Summit on Improvisation Pedagogy and Community Impact. The Summit, composed of roundtables, panels, workshops, and first-rate performances from some of the finest music educators and improvisers working in the world today was held May 23rd-May 25th, 2013. Events took place at 6 Dublin St. South, Guelph, Boarding House for the Arts, the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the Guelph Youth Music Centre, and Silence Guelph. All events were free and open to the community.

Presenters included Jane Bunnett, David Dove, Rich Marsella, Scott Thomson, Kathryn Ladano, William Parker, Joe Sorbara, Jesse Stewart, Vincent Benitez, Massimilano Guido, Chris Stover, Scott Currie, Gabriel Solis, and Howard Spring.

It also featured performances by William Parker, Christine Duncan, and Friendly Rich and the Lollipop People.

Overview of the Summit

Improvisation has long been an uncomfortable subject for music educators. When music learning and teaching has come to depend so much on music notation, improvisation has often become an afterthought. In the last two decades, a growing number of musicians and music scholars have suggested that a greater emphasis on improvisation in music performance, history, and theory classes offers enormous potential to help create more innovative music curricula, and richer, more empowering, and more inspiring learning experiences.

The Summit on Improvisation, Pedagogy, and Community Impact brought together some of the top musicians, music educators, and music researchers from around the world. Leading thinkers on improvisation and pedagogy presented their current research on the subject and discussed their own experiences as teachers, students, and researchers of improvisation. Internationally renowned performer/educators ran open workshops and performances with youth ensembles from the Guelph area. The Summit sought to develop a set of tools and a language to evaluate improvisation-based research and performance initiatives in our schools and in our communities.

Schedule of Events and Performances

May 23
9:15-9:30am - Welcome Remarks (Mark Laver) (View)
9:30-11:45am - Panel: Community Engaged Pedagogy (Paul Watkins - Chair, David Dove, Joe Sorbara, Scott Thomson) (View)
11:45am-pm1:15 - Lunch
1:15-3:00pm - Workshop: William Parker (View)
3:00-5:15pm - Panel: Teaching Improvisation (David Lee - Chair, Kathryn Ladano, William Parker, Jesse Stewart) (View)
7:00pm at Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, 358 Gordon St.: William Parker with the Guelph Jazz Workshop (View)
8:00pm concert at Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, 358 Gordon St.: Engine

May 24
9:30-11:45am - Panel: Improvisation and Music Theory (Brian Lefresne - Chair, Vincent Benitez, Massimiliano Guido, Chris Stover) (View)
11:45am-1:15pm - Lunch
1:15-3:00pm - Workshop: Christine Duncan with the University of Guelph Symphonic Choir (View)
3:00-5:15pm - Panel: Improvisation and Ethnomusicology Pedagogy (Mark Laver - Chair, Scott Currie, Kyra Gaunt, Gabriel Solis, Howard Spring) (View)
8:00pm concert at Guelph Youth Music Centre, 75 Cardigan St.: Christine Duncan with the University of Guelph Symphonic Choir (View)

May 25
9:30-11:45am - Evaluation Roundtables and Breakout Sessions (This is an open session. All individuals are welcome to attend.)
11:45am-1:15pm - Lunch
1:15-3:00pm Workshop: Rich Marsella and Jane Bunnett - Improvisers in Residence (View)
3:00-5:15pm Community Partners Roundtable (Closed session for community partners only.)
7:00pm Concert: Launch of the 2013 Improviser in Residence: Rich Marsella. Performance by Friendly Rich and the Lollipop People. (View)
10:00pm Concert: Silence

All events FREE and open to the public.

You can download a full PDF version of the event poster here.

...partly because I know that’s the only way that we could solve a creative problem [using improvisation with children ranging in abilities] and what doesn’t work is trying to impose a template on the students who are not able to respond to that template.

– Pauline Oliveros (in working with Abilities First)