Educator | Performer | Composer | Author

Contents for Improv Games for Classical Musicians


Foreword by Charles Rochester Young


Part I – Introduction: The Who, Why, and How of Improvisation

Introduction: Why Improvise?

Who Should Use “Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians”?

Suggestions for use + Sample Lists of Games

1. Semester Course – Introduction to Improvisation for Classical Musicians

2. Instrumental Teachers

3. Professional Musicians

4. Music Students

-Games for 1 Player

-Games for 2 Players

5. General Music Teachers

6. Band & Orchestra

7. Choirs & Singers

8. Chamber Music Ensembles

9. Music Therapists

10. Piano (keyboard)

11. Percussionists

12. Theory/Composition

13. Jazz Players

14. Everybody Else: Games for The Rest of Us!

Musical Training for Improvisation

In Search of Melody

Learning Goals

Aural Abilities

Generating Ideas

Creating Melodies

Form: Contrast and Memory

Roles: Foreground and Background

Drama and Expression


Technical Training for Improvisation


Aural Approach: the eyes don’t have it

Shorthand: Chord Symbols and Scale Degrees

Less is More

Variation & Repetition

Working with a Partner

Getting Rhythm

Rule of Relaxation

Improvisation and the Study of Technique

Approaches to Scale Study


Length – Variable Scale Drill; Basic Scale Drill


Scale Type

Patterns – two types


Diatonic vs Cycle Study

Daily Arkady

Two kinds of practice

Integrated Musical/Technical Practice: Familiar Tunes

Summary: Suggestions for Weekly Technical Practice

The Art of Accompaniment in Improvisation

Part II – Improvisation Games

Introduction to the Games

Improvisation Game Techniques

Motivic Development Techniques

List of Games by Chapter

Quick-Start Improvisation Game Favorites

1 player

2 players

3 players

4 players

5 or more

Large group games

Warm-Up Games

Rhythm Games

Accent Games

Dynamics Games

Melody Games

Form Games

Harmony Games

Bass Line Games

Aural Games

Nontraditional Score Games

Conducting Games

Energy/Mood Games

Texture Games

Timbre Games

Composition Games

Depiction Games

Technique Games

Accompaniment Games

Style Games

Text Games

Storytelling Games

Miscellaneous Games

Improv Set-Ups

Extended Combination Games

Part III – Resources

Improvisation Principles

Improvisation Books, Articles, and Links

Constructing Improvisation Compositions

Comprehensive Musicianship Chart

Soundpainting Gestures – The Basics

Chord Symbols – Reference List

Scale types – Study Groups

Scale and Chord Chart


Patterns & Scales


Familiar tunes – list

Styles & Forms – list

Improv Starter Generator

Creative Percussion Instruments

Part IV – Game Indexes

By Chapter in Alphabetical Order

By Chapter and Number of Players

All Games in Alphabetical Order

All Games by Number of Players