Skip to Content

Teaching Improvisation in a University Music Ensemble: A Personal Reflection on the University of Guelph Contemporary Music Ensemble

Ellen Waterman

Published: 2010-08-25

In this personal reflection, Ellen Waterman shares her experience with the CME as a way of thinking about the use value of improvisation in a university music curriculum. In her view, improvisation ought to be an integral part of all musicians’ training because of its emphasis on both social responsibility and personal creativity. In its most provocative instances, she has seen improvisation provide transformational experiences for students that complement and enrich the training of classical and jazz players and of popular music practitioners alike.

Available Files

  • Teaching_Improvisation_University_Ensemble.pdf

    86 KB | application/pdf


So one of the things that improvisation has come to mean in the context of highly technological performance is that improvisation is the last claim to the legitimate presence of a human in the performance of music.

– Bob Ostertag