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Trinity College London music exams: Improvisation hints and tips
Hundreds of teachers have now attended the Revolution Arts Academy workshops New Approaches for Improvisation across South East Asia. As well as exploring how to incorporate improvisation strategies into your teaching we also look at how the Improvisation supporting test option within Trinity College London exams might be a really good options for your students. So let’s get started with some of our Hints and Tips for Improvisation…
Getting startedPlacing a new musical score on the music stand can seem so daunting… Rather than starting like this try a different approach to learning a new piece: Start by playing around with some of the ideas in the piece first such as the articulation, the harmony/chords, the note patterns or the atmosphere suggested by the title. We can learn in so many different ways. Activities which involve making things up are great ways to expand skills, knowledge and confidence on any instrument. And it can be more fun too! But, just being asked to ‘make something up’ without any guidlines can be quite daunting too. So we need some rules before we can start to improvise. We call these rules parameters.
Paramaters for improvisingGive yourself some simple rules to work within. For example, you might decide to make something up which is:
- up to 30 seconds long
- uses just the notes A, B ad C
- uses only long notes and short notes
- has a title such as ‘Haunted House’
- Sight Reading
- Musical Knowledge
Understanding the Improvisation TestMost importantly, teachers and students need to understand the following things about the test:
- What do I need to do in the exam?
- How do I get the best marks?
- What are the parameters for the tests?