Improvisation Pedagogy in World Music

Subject MUSI90142 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

2 consecutive weekends: 30-31 July and 6-7 August 2011. 9:00am - 4:00pm on each day of classes.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 4 days of intensive-mode classes, running 9:00am - 4:00pm on each day.
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
VCA and Music Student Centre

Tel: +61 3 136 352
Fax: +61 3 8344 5258

Subject Overview: This subject covers the theory and practice of teaching and learning improvisation in cross-cultural perspective. Examples will be drawn from the world’s major improvised music traditions — Jazz, North Indian classical music, Persian and Arabic classical music and West African and Brazilian percussion ensembles. The subject is geared towards music educators, musicians with an interest in world music, and music students with an interest in theory and method in ethnomusicology.

On completion of this subject, students should have gained:

  • An understanding and appreciation of improvised music traditions from Asia, Africa and the Americas
  • An understanding of the specific methods of both oral and literate improvisation pedagogy in world music traditions
  • An understanding of the ways that different improvisation pedagogy methods derive from specific musical aesthetics and produce distinct musical practices
  • A fundamental understanding of the relationship between the practices of musical improvisation, approaches to musical pedagogy, and socio-cultural contexts for music in five major music cultures
Assessment: Research paper of 3500 words, relating to improvisation pedagogy, due six weeks after the final class (75%); 30 minute presentation on research paper topic, in the final class (25%).
Prescribed Texts:

Musical Improvisation: Art, Education, Society, ed. Gabriel Solis and Bruno Nettl. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009

A reading pack, including articles on Jazz education, North Indian music education and Brazilian music, will be distributed prior to the first class.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students will have enhanced the following generic skills:

  • The ability to think critically about the relationship between aesthetic values, pedagogical methods, and specific kinds of musical improvisation
  • The ability to read scholarly writing on music critically
  • The ability to produce academic writing about music

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