Thoughts on Improvisation Part 1
Updated: Nov 7, 2022
Music has taught me so much about life that I find myself using concepts and ideas from music as analogies all the time. The process of acquiring skills, of exploring the idea of mastery - the lessons learned are often universally applicable, regardless of the skill one is trying to learn. I've been thinking about my own experience of learning how to improvise, and I'd like to put down some thoughts that I've had about the process so far, and maybe find some general principles that seem to stand out for me.
"True Mastery is to have unquestionable faith in one's own nature."
If I were to sum up what it feels like to improvise, it would be the above sentence. What does it mean? To me, it reflects what's really happening during that elusive category of experiences that we call "flow". In my experience, the sensation feels like being carried along by a wave. There is no feeling of effort behind what is being created. It is true spontaneity, built from past experiences being channeled through the present moment and the limitations of the form. This is why having faith in your own nature is so important. You can only "give up" effort if you have faith in your body's ability to execute what it has internalized. You trust that work, and then get out of the way and watch nature happen by itself.
In subsequent posts we'll start to dig into what my process of internalization has been up until this point, with reflections on how it continues to change over time.