Improvising in classical instrumental music

Course Dates: 30/01/21 - 20/03/21
Time: 10:30 - 12:00
Location: Online

An opportunity to explore improvisation in a supportive and playful online environment. Find creativity and freedom as you follow the practice of great classical composers.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

The practice of improvisation in classical music, through practical exercises and exploration. To get an idea of how improcisation can be used, watch and listen to tutor Lindsey Filliingham in action with Ad Lib Ensemble [external website].

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- how to create musical structures and textures, and improvise phrases of 4 bars, 8 bars and longer
- responding to other musicians through improvisation
- developing short musical ideas into longer phrase
- improvising melodic material over a given harmonic basis
- the history and application of improvisation in classical music.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Improvise with other musicians
Create your own melodies
Develop a 4 bar melodic phrase into longer pieces of music
Use improvisation to be more creative and expressive in the music pieces you study
Understand how improvisation can be used in classical music.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

For instrumental musicians who have completed at least two years of tuition on a single line instrument (not keyboard/guitar). You need to be able to play scales and arpeggios in major and minor keys up to three sharps/flats, and recognise basic musical elements such as pulse and phrase. You do not need prior experience of improvising.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

This class will be taught online via live interactive video sessions.
Tutor demonstration and explanation, and practical exercises. You will have the chance to play along with the tutor as well as individually. There will be some presentation of history and music theory. You may be asked to practise between the sessions.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

All you need is your own instrument and technology to connect to the live online sessions and the Google Classroom.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You may wish to take this course again (it is offered 2-3 times per year).
This short course is a supplement to the general instrumental programme, and you are encouraged to explore improvisation in your regular instrumental playing, or apply it in ensemble playing.


Customer Reviews 3 item(s)

Write a review

Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

I participated in this course in 2017.
It was a fabulous introduction to improvisation for any instrument.
Everybody seemed to enjoy the different "steps"into improvisation. Everyone seemed to be confident in the end "playing short improvised tunes".
Everyone seemed to feel enriched having gained "beginners-improvisation-skills" in addition to their already existing "music-reading" skills.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 15/09/2020)
This course will really free up your playing and your musical ideas, and give you deeper musicality that you can apply in all your playing. You can get a lot out of this course even if you've only been playing your instrument for a few months.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 15/09/2020)
This course was excellent! The tutor had prepared a series of varied exercises which progressively helped students explore various aspects of improvisation. Whilst having some basic knowledge of music theory and harmony helps, the tutor encouraged students to improvise in keys in which they are familiar, in some exercises, chords are written out and there are many opportunities for free improvisation. The course was fun and engaging, with the tutor playing with the students throughout the course. The atmosphere was encouraging and supporting. I felt that, although students had different knowledge and abilities, we all left having learnt something and with a big smile on our faces.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 15/09/2020)
Tutor Biographies
Lindsey Fillingham Tutor Website

Lindsey Fillingham (flute, piano, chamber music and improvisation tutor) graduated with BMus(Hons) from the University of Cape Town in 2009 and went on to study in Stockholm (KMH), Manchester (RNCM), and privately with Kate Hill (RAM). She has played with the likes of the Hallé, the Cape Philharmonic, and Orchestra of the Swan in venues including Royal Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall and St Martin-in-the-Fields, has performed as a soloist with the Johannesburg Philharmonic, and broadcast for BBC’s Songs of Praise and Sunday Worship. Lindsey is carrying out PhD research at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, into group classical improvisation. She has led improvisation workshops and courses at the University of Cape Town, City Lit and Barbican’s OpenFest, amongst others. Lindsey loves performing to diverse communities, and is equally at home singing in school workshops or playing in care settings. She is a member of soundSPARK wind quartet and, with the Ashdown Duo, the Musicians in Hospitals and Care scheme. Lindsey is passionate about passing on the joy of music-making, and teaches at City Lit and Kensington Prep School.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: ME860B

Sat, day, 30 Jan - 20 Mar '21

Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)

Full fee: £129.00
Senior fee: £129.00
Concession: £79.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2630

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.