'How I learned to improvise'


Okay, as I wrote in my introduction, I’m interested in talking about what it would mean to ‘rewild music’. Giuli had a great post about this over at


which prompted me to think a little deeper on what I might have to offer in this area. Commenting there I recommended ‘improvisational fluidity as a key to keeping things live in the short term and a-live in the long’, so I thought the best thing might be to tell my own story, coming from institutionalised music and breaking out into other forms more reflective of my own immediate, ever-changing experience.

As per my usual habit, and especially because telling this story would involve a fair amount of conflict with taken-for-granted norms, I put this on the backburner until just recently when, like Giuli, I took Jeff Buckley as my catalyst and a whole load of it poured out almost by accident:

After that I decided to finally go into my own history (a little strange to have so little of this in a blog, I’ll admit) and once I’d started I kept on thinking of new things to add. So here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

And I’m currently working on a few more things for a pt.6. Happy reading!

I mailed the first few of these to some of my musician friends who I thought might appreciate the content. So far only one of them has got back to me with any related thoughts. I guess in a weird way this shows that my attempt has been successful (in thinking ‘unthinkable thoughts’ as Quinn puts it). Still, I’d like to discuss the ideas with some people not entirely hostile to their implications.

That’s where you guys come in! How do we cut the puppet strings, kick the ventriloquist in the balls and learn to use our own voices to once again express our own personal experiences and truly reflect the changing situations of our minds, bodies and spirits?



… pt.6, a kind of appendix discussing the social role of music/art in civilised and other societies, now up at:

I don’t think I’ve got much more to add for the time being. Right then - as Pink Floyd asked: Is There Anybody Out There?? Any of your stories or opinions most welcome.