Music experts' knowledge on improvisational expertise: The RJR case

Activity: Talk or presentation typesTalk or presentation (not at a conference)Professional


Improvisational expertise in jazz entails a dynamic mixture of musical knowledge, skills, and attitudes that is needed to improvise consistently and superiorly on a set of representative improvisational tasks. This study presents a group concept mapping (GCM) study that identifies critical constituents of improvisational expertise. Data collection in GCM consists of the generation, sorting, and rating of features. Data analysis includes multidimensional scaling (MDS), hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA), and semantic analyses. Musical experts (i.e., critics, musicians, researchers) of the German Radio Jazz Research (RJR) association took part in study. The participants generated 81 features of improvisational expertise. MDS, HCA and a semantic analysis resulted in a 7-cluster concept map. Skills, knowledge and attitudes related to individuality (uniqueness) were central to the map. The most highly valued (and teachable) features of expertise had to do with musical interaction (communication). The experts further acknowledged the value of musical exploration and (continuous) development of expertise. The map is a useful impetus for the (re)development of curricula in music education.
Period6 Jan 2023
Event titleRadio Jazz Research-Tagung: Wildcard
Event typeSeminar
Conference number44
LocationMünster, Germany, North Rhine-WestphaliaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • improvisation
  • jazz
  • group concept mapping
  • musical improvisation
  • improvisational expertise