Shared Improvisations

Hello Dalcroze USA community,

A few months ago, we published a blog with improvisation inspiration in the form of a randomized dice game. Although you can go back and read about the game here, the guidelines were basically to use a set of practice dice to assign musical parameters, such as tonality, meter, tempo, and tonal center.

Improvisors at the 2023 DSA National Conference

Happily, we have had some musicians send in their results of this improvisation game, which are shared below. As always in our Dalcroze practice, it might be useful to move with the music you hear here. Throw on some wireless headphones and let the music take you along for a ride!

Enjoy listening! The notes following each recording are written by each improvisor.

improvisation by Aaron Butler

Atonal music centered around ‘A’ in 12/8 with the beat at 80.

Aaron Butler’s dice set-up
improvisation by Katie Couch

This recording was made with my preschool-age daughters in mind. The dice yielded Lydian mode, 9/8, and a slower metronome marking. As such, I created a little game where either frogs sleep on lily pads or wake up and jump. My daughters loved the game! Perhaps you can try it at home with your own little ones.

NOT the author’s child
improvisation by Alex Marthaler

[no notes were submitted by the improvisor, unfortunately!]

improvisation by Michael Joviala

The dice weren’t kind: B-flat minor, 7/8, tempo = 160.

improvisation by Aaron Bagby

Because this game was created with melodic instruments in mind, I had to get creative in order to apply it to drum set. In addition to meter and tempo, my dice parameters included implement (including: sticks, brushes, dowel rods, mallets, hands, and ‘combine any two’) and style (including: swing, rock, funk, hip-hop, 2nd line, disco, etc.). This first example is a rock ‘n roll groove in 3/4 with mallets. My second example (below) is a Latin groove in 9/8 using one mallet and one hand).

improvisation by Aaron Bagby
DW drumset

Please consider sending in your own music to share with the community 🙂

Find more information about Dalcroze Improvisation on our website or let us know what other topics you’d like featured here.

About Katie Couch

Katie Couch (BM, MME) first experienced Dalcroze education while studying piano performance at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the early 2000s. After returning home from a three-year stint teaching English in Shanghai, she began serious studies in Dalcroze work. Katie earned the Dalcroze Certificate (2013) and License (2015) from the Dalcroze School of the Rockies. During the 2016-17 school year, she studied at l’Institut Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva, Switzerland, working towards the Diplôme Supérieur. Currently, Katie works along the Colorado Front Range as a Dalcroze teacher with classes that range in age and level from early childhood through adult enrichment, with several other children’s classes as well. She is on the faculty of the Dalcroze School of the Rockies where she trains future Dalcroze teachers online in improvisation, solfège, and pedagogy. Katie also volunteers for several committees of the Dalcroze Society of America. In her spare time, Katie enjoys raising her three daughters, expanding her piano repertoire, cooking, being outdoors, and listening to music.

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