Teaching and coaching

I see CCVI (classical and contemporary vocal improvisation, see also dissertation) as a critical artistic forum where singers and instrumentalists can problematize contemporary Western classical vocal performance practice through ludic action (Sjöström, n.d.). My goal is to create prerequisites for classical singers and musicians to investigate improvisation as a tool for knowledge building through action, without prepared material. The emergent musico-dramatic material is created by interactions on different levels (Wilén, 2015).

Course in opera improvisation at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, 2015

We do exercises in communication, creativity, movement and physical listening, where all work is conducted within the field of musical and dramatic improvisation. This is especially important when instrumentalists with a limited experience of stage work are joining. Through the years I have come to see that there is a great advan-tage in dividing the musical and textual improvisation from acting in the physical space. In OI we often do it the other way around; the physical situation is set before the musical material emerges, and the dramatic events that occur heavily affect the musical outcome due to the pianist’s background in theatre music.

All the work we do (except for some work with improvising on repertoire) is based on the students’ creating of the emergent musico-dramatic materials. In 2014, our work at Malmo Academy of Music revealed that improvisational work in concert formats were very inspiring for the students. It is a valuable complement to the work with finding music0-dramatic inspiration from situated actions, with dramatic dialogues and physical movement in staged settings. We have focused a lot on the German theatre pedagogue Rudolf Penka’s (in Johansson, 2012, p. 35) methods, where the actors works with responding to the situational questions: Who? Where? When? What? Why? in order to situate themselves in the interaction in a scene, creating prerequisites, context and actions in the scene together. My aim with this is to make the students focus on the outer contexts where they could use their own bodies in fictive scenes, which could provide them with material for the musical improvisations through their intentional actions in dialogue with others. When we started to try out some methods for musical/concert improvisation many of them found new ways of improvising, and they were also able to connect and develop more complex musical material together.