Why Group Improvisation?

Some years ago I wrote “When creatively engaged, we are not comparing ourselves to anyone else, measuring ourselves against external standards. We can contribute, give of ourselves, in the humility that is truth, and rejoice in the contribution of others, untainted by envy or disdain” (Creativity and Inclusion) It’s impossible to be immersed in the creative process whilst in critical mode, so creative music-making can be profoundly liberating.  The only obstacle to sharing is our fear of opening our personal creative world to others because that is to reveal our vulnerability with the ‘humility that is truth‘.  I wonder how many people there are who improvise, but only in the privacy of their bedroom, or have composed pieces that will never see the light of day. And writing on a blog can be pretty scarey, too! I’ve just been pondering these things again after revisiting my earlier post, (Failure, the Price of Success) . One commentator described, what he considered, an irrational fear of participating in an open jam session. I wasn’t focusing on improvisation in that post but his was, perhaps, a perfect example of the principle: he would have to accept the death of failure in order to participate but having  accepted that, he would be free. Once improvising in a group (where everyone has had to  make the same acceptance and commitment) he would, of necessity, be absorbed in the shared moment of creation (success). Any thoughts of ‘failure’ would be down to ‘outsiders’ listening in (an audience) – and that’s their problem! Because everyone, whatever their strengths and weaknesses, must make the same commitment and have the same opportunity for discovery, creative music-making in a group can be truly inclusive. Wouldn’t all musicians benefit greatly from group improvisation (without an audience)?

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