Collaborative Improvisation Workshop using Popular Music and Online Technologies – Workshop

Sunny Choi, New York University

In North America, improvisation is a term that is most commonly associated with the Jazz tradition. Improvisation as a personal artistic and creative practice is seldom taught in one-on-one instrumental lessons, and instead focus on processes of recreation and ensuring the accurate performance of musical elements and traditional notated musical repertoire. 

In this 90-minute interactive workshop, the presenter will lead participants in active listening, aural analysis, and group creating experiences applying practices and techniques emerging from the presenter’s Artistic Piano Interpretation (Artistic Pi) practice-based research project at NYU. 

Participants will explore the use of Noteflight, Soundtrap, and/or StaffPad to make and gather, and improvise with each other’s collaborative musical ideas. Popular song materials will serve as the basis for the experiences, with the participants using technologies to create and improvise their own interpretations using online technologies. 

Though Artistic Pi was developed through application at the piano, participants will be able to apply these techniques to digital music creation and on their own primary instruments. 


Presentation outline:
  • Artistic Piano Interpretation of a popular music song on piano by the presenter (5 min) 
  • Discussion & background information sharing the practices and techniques of ‘artistic piano interpretation’ developed through the presenter’s research process (20 min) 
  • Group listening & analysis of a Western popular song, applying techniques attention to listening for instrumentation layers and rhythmic figures (10 minutes) 
  • Participants separate into small groups to discuss, detect key rhythmic patterns, and create their own artistic interpretations using the online programs Noteflight, or Soundtrap (30 min) 
  • Group sharing of and listening to the collaborative projects. Suggest additional ideas (15 min) 
  • Reflections and Q&A (10 min) 

Participants are encouraged to bring their instruments, and/or use their voice to realize their interpretations. If it’s possible to host the event in a piano/computer lab, that would be ideal, otherwise participants should bring laptop and have WIFI access.