Think Piece

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Reflection – Freddie Stone: Musical Phenomenologist

This reflection was written by Bob Wiseman, and appeared in the April 2022 edition of the ImprovNotes newsletter. It was in Toronto in the 1980s. I was searching for meaning and understanding in my pianistic improvisations. There was no Youtube, no internet. Today, I can watch footage of Freddie Stone in the late 60s on…

Are dissonances and group agreement compatible?

How do we engage with these dissonances or alterities in our expectations?
How do we, as facilitators and pedagogues, resist a more utilitarian urge to maximize what might appear to be group agreement in the space, at the cost of the outliers? Might we, as guides through these spaces, have an obligation to address these outliers in these moments of tension?
And, what does this teach us about our facilitative practice and how we approach difference?

Think Piece: Oku’s Sounds: Anthony Braxton and Musical Improvisation in Dionne Brand’s What We All Long For

Improvised music plays an important role in Dionne Brand’s 2005 novel What We All Long For, which tells the intertwined story of four ethnically and racially diverse twenty-somethings living in downtown Toronto.

In this Think Piece, Lefrense details how the musical practices of one of the four protagonists Oku, a second-generation Caribbean-Canadian, projects his “politics of being” through a personally curated soundtrack.

The Art Of Risk: Negotiating Unfamiliar Territory in Large-group Improvisation

By Jason Caslor, Arizona State University In 2014, Musagetes, IICSI and the Laurier Centre for Music in the Community’s Improviser-in-Residence, Dong-Won Kim, spent the fall in Guelph bringing together a myriad of musicians and artists through improvised music and dance. His residency culminated on November 28th with a most unique collaboration involving 20 members of…

Think Piece: Improvisation and the Syrian Refugee Crisis

ABSTRACT The current Syrian refugee crisis—the civil war and the displaced peoples that resulted from it, but also the crisis with respect to how Western countries have responded to it—affirms a renewed need to learn to deal with social dissonance. In this piece, Paul Watkins discusses the ways in which social and musical improvisation (particularly…

Improvisation and Leapfrogging

The History of Improvisation in Toronto and the Episteme of the Twentieth Century “I am inclined toward leaping forward” – Mao Zedong, 2 February 1959 “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” – Neil Armstrong, 20 July 1969 Here is one way to tell the history of improvised music in Toronto:…