Events Diary 23
We are bringing three of the most experienced improvisers in Scotland up to the Islands in March for three very important reasons: 1. Improvising can enhance the skill and technique of any musician, whatever their level of skill or whatever genre they play in from jazz to rock to classical music. All the great performers enhanced their improvisation levels to raise their performance potential. It is the added bonus of playing music. 2. Improvisation can be a scary but a thrilling experience. Like walking a tightrope without a safety net, or jumping straight into the deep waters. It adds that frisson of nervous energy that gives you the impetus to leave behind the safe and familiar and enter into the thrill of the adventurous. 3. It is as much about listening as it is about playing. As a member of an improvising ensemble, you are composing as you are playing. But, more importantly, you are passing musical signs and clues that illicit appropriate responses, and thus a piece develops. When I trained as an art teacher, I studied Jackson Pollock and other abstract expressionists. When I painted in that style, people said in a derogative way “Ooow! I could do that.” Indeed, they could. But they didn’t. When people asked Pollock what his painting meant, what it was supposed to represent, he answered that it meant he had dribbled paint on a canvas and when he liked it, he stopped dribbling. It is exactly what it is. Improvisation is the same. It is people making sounds on instruments, not trying to play someone else’s work by reading dots on a score. It’s a different mentality, but one that has its own validity. Come along to the workshop to discover how to share this excitement. Come along to the gig to experience music created spontaneously and in the moment. Raymond MacDonald is a Professor and Chair of Music Psychology and Improvisation at the University of Edinburgh. He is a saxophonist and composer who has released over 60 records and toured and broadcast worldwide. George Burt, like Raymond, is a long serving member of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and they both came here with the late pianist Keith Tippett and as part of our previous seasons. George has just recorded a duet album with Graeme Stephen which was featured on BBC Radio 3’s Freeness last week. Maria Sappho is a Puerto Rican American, originally from Brooklyn NY, currently working as an improviser, artist and researcher in the UK. She is also a member of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. Maria was not too long ago, a classical pianist, studying at Laguardia Highschool, often known for its representation in the 'Fame' movies. She then moved to the UK to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She has recently completed her PhD research at Huddersfield University as part of a European Research Council project. Jeff Merriefield

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Shetland JAWS (formerly Shetland Jazz Club)

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