Improvisation instructions

A musical performance using new technologies

    School sections
    • Lower secondary school
    Educational subjects
    • Instrumental practice
    • Music and technologies

Improvisation instructions

The activity “Improvisation instructions” consisted in realizing a musical performance that implied the use of new technologies and lyric instructions, with the aim to develop a collective improvisation. A group of students - the lyric composers - wrote lyrics through a smartphone, which were then projected on a screen (an IWB) and interpreted in real time by a group of students - the musicians – who creatively used an online platform that is normally used to help speakers talk to an audience.

The activity was inspired by an interesting methodological dichotomy for teaching music, that is linearity and non-linearity. Linear musical instructions are simple statements in the form of Subject-Verb-Predicate, while the non-linear ones have a Word Cloud form, a cloud made up of words.

Work tools

In order to carry out the activity, it is necessary to be equipped with smartphones, an IBW (or a screen), and musical instruments.

Nowadays, smartphones are present in the students’ lives. The IBW allows to show the lyric instructions on a big screen and exploit the Internet connection.
The space necessary is quite simple: any place where there is an IBW (it is possible to replace the IBW with a video projector connected to a computer; in such case, the activity can be conducted even in other spaces, for example in an Auditorium, or outside).

The space has to be divided into two areas: the first area, hosts the lyric composers; the second area, hosts the musicians. Both groups need to be able to see the IBW. In the event of a public performance, it is necessary to divide the space into three areas, in order to include the audience.

Educational purposes

The skills, goals and training objectives selected by the teacher for this experience are shown below.

    • Interpretation
    • Improvisation
    Reading and Writing
    • Use of unconventional analogic music notation
    Lower secondary school
    • Capacity to conceive and create music and multimedia messages, also though improvisation or collective elaboration processes, using also IT tools, in critical confrontation with models belonging to the musical heritage
    Reading and Writing
    • Using different notation systems functional to reading, analysis and reproduction of pieces of music
Educational targets

The targeted competences were those relating to the production of pieces developed and realized through improvisation and the use of new technologies.

In particular, students learned how to:

- improvise vocal and instrumental pieces, using open structures

- decode and use other writing systems (in particular, lyric scores)

- access musical resources present on the Internet, and use specific software for sonorous and musical processing (the use of platforms for the transmission of information in real time)

The students achieved such objectives after reflecting on how to use a smartphone for music purposes, activating processes of divergent and creative thinking. The need to send musical instructions to an ensemble of musicians allowed to discover that some online platforms, normally used to help speakers interact with an audience, were useful for the abovementioned objectives.


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