From Sight to Sound

From Sight to Sound

Improvisational Games for Classical Musicians
Nicole M. Brockmann
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/07/2009
Format: Paperback 179 music exx.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22064-6
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From Sight to Sound provides practical and creative techniques for classical improvisation for musicians of all levels and instruments, solo or in ensembles. These exercises build aural and communicative skills, instrumental technique, and musical understanding. When students use their instruments to execute and improvise on theoretical concepts, they make vivid connections between abstract ideas and their own playing. This then allows students to unite performance with music theory, ear-training, historical style and context, chamber music skills, and listening skills. Many of the exercises in this book are designed for players working in pairs or small groups to encourage performers to communicate with one another and build an atmosphere of trust in which creativity and spontaneity may flourish.

Author Bio

Nicole M. Brockmann is Assistant Professor of Music at DePauw University. She holds a DMA in viola performance from Yale University and is a past president of the Dalcroze (Eurythmics) Society of American. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.


“This book presents the basic argument that to truly understand music one must not only perform what is written on the page, but be able to recreate the musical style and language through improvisation. . . . Brockmann focuses on the missing link in music education at all levels—the connection between a theoretical understanding and practical knowledge of one's instrument.”
 — Brenda Brenner, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

“Musicians of any level or instrument will enjoy this fun and practical approach to learning classical improvisation while building aural and communicative skills, instrumental technique, and musical understanding, making vivid connections between those ideas and their own playing.”

“Brockmann. . . has added an important work to the literature on improvisation. . . . For musicians who want to improve by trying the activities Brockmann suggests, I highly recommend this work. August 2011”
 — American String Teacher

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Table of Contents

1. Improvise? What For?
2. Building Listening Skills
Pitch Switch
Pitch Chains
Sing and Play
More Sing and Play
Advanced Sing and Play
One Third Plus One Third Equals One Fifth
Getting to the Root of the Problem
Sound Effects
Rhythmic Scales
3. Simple Melodic Improvisations
Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice (That's What Melodies Are Made of)
He Says, She Says
Rhythm in an Alternate Universe
Music Plus One
Keep Away
Fill in the Blank
Non-Tonal Improvisations
Strings Alone
4. Melody and Harmony: Improvisations for Ensembles
Round-Robin Ostinati
The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
Means, Motive, and Opportunity
Monkey Hear, Monkey Do
Musical Volleyball
Switch and Signal
Dialogue (Melody/Countermelody Echo)
Pas de Deux
Pedal to the Metal
Son of Sing and Play
Freeze Frame
Dummy Up
Bartók Had a Little Lamb
5. From Sight to Sound: Getting off the Page
Wait Your Ternary
Home Away from Home
You Can't Get There from Here
Circular Reasoning
Name That Tune
Being Diana Ross
Dinner at a Chinese Restaurant
It's So Nice, You Can Do It Twice
Swing Your Partner Round and Round
Appendix A: Music Theory Review
Appendix B: Additional Harmonic Progressions