Educator | Performer | Composer | Author

Reviews on Improv Duets for Classical Musicians

Jeffrey Agrell is one of the most important advocates for improvisation in the classical music world today. His greatest gift is his ability to create games and exercises that make learning improvisation fun not scary. The approach is engaging, insightful and humorous. Players of any instrument will love these fun and imaginative improvisation duets. – Charles Young, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Jeffrey Agrell continues to contribute, through his intense enthusiasm, his immense intelligence, and his relentless pursuits, to provoke us all to step inside ourselves to find out what we already know and can already do, but don’t think that we know or feel able to do. Creativity through equal partnership is the angle here. Duets are what we do every day as we converse with another person. Through our own words we communicate feelings, emotions, and thoughts. We attempt to convince, cajole, or confuse via spontaneous (improvised) verbal actions and reactions with others, most often without a script of any kind. Improvisation through one’s musical instrument in reaction to another is what Agrell encourages as he presents a multitude of intriguing ways for us to discover and enjoy our innermost capabilities to communicate through the abstractions of pitches, timbres, rhythms, and dynamics. This is a book to buy, study, use, and cherish as it encourages classical performers to relax, relate, and ultimately realize the music that is their very own. –Douglas Hill, Professor Emeritus of Horn, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This portable volume has everything you need to get started improvising with a partner. Unlike the usual printed duets, these duets provide an opportunity for two people playing any (or multiple) instruments to create music without written notation. This is especially valuable in a pedagogical setting, where improvising with a partner can provide a fresh approach to working on technical as well as musical issues. I know I will use this book frequently with friends, colleagues, and students to help me incorporate improvisation more regularly into my musical day. With Professor Agrell’s improvisation resources, all musicians (but especially “classical” musicians) now have an outstanding set of tools that will help them dare to try something new, while also further developing deep listening skills, refining technique, opening up musical creativity, and providing hours of fun for a lifetime of music-making. No matter what your previous experience with improvisation (none or a lot), you will definitely want this volume in your library. – Dr. Lin Foulk, University of Western Michigan

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