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Reviews on Improv Games for One Player

Improv Games for One Player is a fantastic resource for teachers and players alike. Derivatives of some of the exercises can certainly be used with beginning and intermediate students. Doing so may even provide the extra inspiration needed to learn those scales and arpeggios. As Agrell advocates, improvisation serves as an important component in achieving “comprehensive musicianship.” Including this book on the music stand will provide a varied and thorough approach by which to begin the path toward this lofty goal.
–The Flutist Quarterly

In addition to providing almost fifty different improvisation games with a variety of applications, Agrell also includes chapters at the end of the book that present different patterns and scales, list different styles and forms, and list a selection of familiar tunes. All of these additional chapters contain information that can be applied to the various improvisation games throughout the remainder of the book. The games are designed for one player, but it is possible for more than one player to participate in many of the games.

This book would be quite useful for classical musicians with a good grounding in music theory that want to get experience improvising in a way that builds upon traditional classical music education. This book would also be valuable for instructors of all levels because it provides good exercises for improvisation that can be as simple or as complicated as needed. Many tuba and euphonium students receive few opportunities to improvise on their instruments unless they pursue jazz performance. It can give tubists and euphoniumists another way to experience improvisation outside of the jazz idiom. This book is highly recommended for students and educators alike.
–Journal of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association

The May 2008 review of [Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians] was very positive and those positive aspects are echoed here. Since this volume is for one player, however, I believe it addresses the needs of classical musicians more directly, giving them virtually an infinite number of ideas to play with in practice (i.e. in private) – well, infinity will be possible if his encouragement is followed: “1. Open Book; 2. Get idea; 3. Close book; 4. Play. And play. And play.” While the big 2008 version is especially recommended for teachers, this volume is recommended for every individual. I’ve used his ideas on my own, in classes (my studio did a 10-week study of the big book), and in lessons. Once “buy-in” is achieved, the results are remarkable – more willingness in risk-taking, and a more highly developed sense of humor (we’ve even performed improv games in public!). These are all things we need to keep music alive in ourselves and in the world. Play. And play. And play.
–Journal of the International Horn Society

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