Literature on using improvisation in classical music training

  • Agrell, Jeffrey, Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians, GIA Publications, Inc. Chicago, 2008 A large book full of simple, effective ideas to help start a group improvising. Agrell has also published similar books for single players and small ensembles.
  • Brockmann, Nicole M., from sight to sound: Improvisational Games for Classical Musicians, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2009 Brockmann’s book is based on her studies of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and the games are  more theoretically structured than Agrell’s book. A lot of good exercises on how to build melodies and strengthen harmonic understanding.
  • Friesen, Eugene, with Wendy M. Friesen, Improvisation for Classical Musicians: Strategies for Creativity and Expression, Berkelee Press, Boston, 2012.This book, with included CD, is structured more for individual work and is more of an introduction to jazz improvisational style for classical musicians. These exercises could be interesting for individuals looking to further improve their improvisation and might help a director develop new group exercises.
  • Ronen, Asaf, Directing IMPROV show the way by getting out of the way Includes ideas for improvisation exercises, but also a lot of good general information for directors. This was written with theatrical improvisation in mind, but many of the ideas transfer to the direction of musical improvisation.
  • Sarath, Edward, Music Theory through Improvisation, Taylor and Francis Group, 2009. Sarath’s trans-stylistic approach to improvisation helps to lower the bar for beginning improvisors, allowing anyone to start from whatever musical tradition they are familiar with, at whatever level. In this book, he creates a journey from beginning explorations through theoretical understanding using improvisation.
  • For the Younger Flutist Will Offermans (Zimmerman ZM 30880) As the name suggests, the improvisational games in this book are designed for young students, and some of them probably would not work ‘as is’ for returning flutists. However, there are some good ideas that can be adapted for use with older flutists.
  • The Improvisation Calendar Will Offermans (Zimmerman ZM31950) This contains one graphic score for each week of the year that can be used as the basis for free improvisations.

Literature for the study of extended flute techniques

  • Robert Dick The Other Flute London: Oxford University Press, 1975. Detailed description of different techniques including tables of possible multiphonics and microtonal or alternate timbral fingerings. This book is also a good resource for composers looking to include extended timbre in their flute compositions.
  • Tone Development through Extended Techniques Robert Dick (LKM Music, #HL 0040114). Exercises for developing proficiency in the performance of overtones, multiphonics and other extended flute techniques.
  • For the Contemporary Flutist Will Offermans (Zimmerman ZM29700) contains etudes for the study of extended technique, and includes detailed descriptions of how to produce each technique discussed.
  • Petite méthode des modes de jeu contemporaines pour la flûte traversière The simple contemporary method for flute Annick Sarrien-Perrier (Editions Robert Martin, R 3818 M, 2005). A collection of short etudes and pieces including different extended techniques.
  • Music for People an organization that provides workshops, classes and other resources on musical improvisation for all levels .
  • The Scroll Ensemble: An ensemble dedicated to reintroducing improvisation to the western classical tradition.
  • Paul Harris: Unconditional Learning encouraging teachers to be self-aware in the learning process. Harris’s work also includes books on practicing, and a blog discussing his ideas on developing awareness in the learning and teaching process.
  • Flutexpansions: new, growing online resource for extended flute techniques.
  • Flute Colors has resources for teaching and learning extended flute techniques both online and in print form. This page is directed towards younger flutists or others who are new to using these techniques.
  • The Contemporary Flutist Wil Offermans’ companion page to his etude book by the same name, for working on extended techniques.
  • Simply Flute Online resource full of technical exercises for flutists of different skill levels by Paul Edmond-Davies.
  • For the Love of Flute Katy Wherry has started an online program for flutists of all levels to help them set and achieve goals. She also hosts the ‘Etude of the Week’ Facebook page, where flutists of all levels can get support and feedback playing one etude each week.
  • The Flute PracticeThis blog covers topics from how to practice, what to look for in online lessons, and dealing with fear as a musician.

Works for Flute ensemble incorporating improvisation and/or extended techniques (suitable for adults)

  • La Voliere Du Puy [Aviaries] (1994, Notissimo Editions, NT04231Z) Sophie Dufeutrelle: Unlimited number of C flutes,  piccolo, Alto and Bass flute(s). Based on bird song, this work is a great way to introduce improvisatory performance to an ensemble. The score includes directions to help the ensemble develop their own unique plan for each performance.
  • Le Serpent A Sons…Nets [Rattlesnake](1991/1999, Notissimo Editions, NT04200Y)Sophie Dufeutrelle: 2 piccolos, 6 flutes, alto, bass. A work in 3 movements, each movement explores different types of playing techniques and improvisation.
  • Marine [Seascape] (2009, Edition Alphonse Leduc, AL 30 723 ) Sophie Dufeutrelle: flute choir, from piccolo to contrabass flute. A work in two movements: the first movement is improvisatory, the second more traditionally notated.
  • Uudemmasta Maailmaasta [From a Newer World] (2007, Music Finland) Lauri Toivio: 8 C flutes. A jazzy piece including improvisatory sections, incorporates techniques such as tongue pizzicato, tongue rams, jet whistles and harmonics.
  • Illanvälke [Evening Gleam] (2009, Music Finland) Lauri Toivio: 8 C flutes. This work is not improvisatory, but includes techniques such as tongue pizzicato and rams, jet whistles and harmonics. A contrasting piece to Uudemmasta Maailmaasta, this piece is more pastoral in feeling. Programming both pieces by Toivio can help players understand how the same techniques can be used in slightly different ways to produce different feelings.
  • Chorale (Metropolis Music Publisher, EM6788) Jukka-Pekka Lehto: Aleatoric improvisatory sections imbedded in a more traditional form, incorporates techniques such as bending, harmonics, glissando.
  • Lintuparvi, kesätuuli [Flock of Birds, Summer Wind]  (Metropolis Music Publisher)Jukka-Pekka Lehto . Unlimited number of flutes (while originally for C flutes, it could include entire flute family)Includes a part for just headjoint, suitable for beginners, other parts range in difficulty up to parts including improvised solos.
  • Rituale, (unpublished, 2017) Pasi Lyytikäinen: 6 C flutes, piccolo, alto, bass. The acoustics of the concert hall play an important role in this work, which is mainly aleatoric, including a free improvised section at the end. for flute choir from piccolo to bass flute.
  • Eternal Winds (Zimmerman ZM 36180) Wil Offermans Another piece for unlimited number of flutists, also includes a simple part for beginners, up through to written out jazzy solos.
  • There Was A Time (Tetractys 131518/4) Coreen Morsink: Piccolo, 2 C-flutes, Solo Alto, Alto, Bass