Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

This is a dense book for such a small volume.  The subject is important to me – I used to improvise a lot in bands, and I think that comfort and practice allow me to improvise at work and home.

The author makes numerous important points in the book.  For example, when improvising you have to give up some control. A great quote from William Blake: “Jesus was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules.”  Play is an important part of improvisation, and play is not game.  Another important element to successful improvisation is practice, because you need to be skilled enough to let go of convention and expectations when improvising.  But the best practice for improvisation is fun practice, experimental practice.  The author spends part of two chapters on entrainment, the synchronization of two or more rhythmic systems into one.  Creative despair is a necessary part of the creative process.

I liked the book but its not a fast read.


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