What makes a good musical improviser? An expert view on improvisational expertise

Iwan Wopereis, Slavi Stoyanov, Paul A. Kirschner, Jeroen Van Merriênboer

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    This study presents an expert view on musical improvisational expertise. A group concept mapping procedure was used to identify key characteristics of such expertise among a group of 26 renowned musical experts. Multivariate analyses, including 2-dimensional multidimensional scaling (MDS) of unstructured sort data, hierarchical cluster analysis of the MDS coordinates, and the computation of average ratings of 169 statements resulted in a 7-cluster concept map. The cluster self-regulation was located at the heart of the cluster map and was, therefore, regarded a core constituent of improvisational expertise. The other clusters were basic (musical) skills, affect, risk-taking, creation, responsivity, and ideal. Implications for instruction, limitations of the study, and future research are commented on.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)222-235
    Number of pages14
    JournalPsychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


    • improvisation
    • expertise
    • concept mapping
    • music
    • jazz
    • instruction


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