FOUR-DAY IMPROVISATION INTENSIVE
Bobby Previte leads an immersive, four-day workshop on free improvisation for student, amateur, and professional musicians. Watch excerpts from the recent workshop at the Hudson Opera House in Hudson, NY
"Bobby Previte is in a category of one in his ability to communicate the mysterious and transformational power of improvised music with passion, wit, and humor. This workshop offers musicians a remarkable opportunity to confront and dismantle the preconceptions and assumptions that can so easily sabotage the process of spontaneous music making. Previte illuminates a world of boundless creative possibility, empowering musicians to reinvent themselves in each and every moment. Previte offers musicians a catalyzing experience, teaching us how to deliver wholehearted and unapologetic music from the heart." - Derrick Michaels, musician, Baltimore MD
“I’m a filmmaker with a deep interest in sound and a novice musician. What I experienced taught me to trust my instincts and to truly listen to the people with whom I was playing-I would characterize this experience as a deeply empathetic collaboration. The results were fun magic. Also it made me a better driver. Each evening I drove home ready to respond to whatever other drivers threw my way.” - Jacqueline Goss, filmmaker
Subjects studied focus on creating music through the process of playing improvisations structured around, and limited by, certain criteria—density, form, dynamics, tempo, silence, register, and orchestration. In addition, through playing the group will investigate the nature of judgement, emotion, technique, role, and the genesis of the “idea germ” in the making of music. Group members must have a basic level of proficiency on a conventional or unconventional musical instrument. Ability to read and write music is not required, nor is previous experience in improvisation. Instead, we seek the serious-minded who can commit to a rigorous and intensive four days of playing and study.
At the conclusion of the course, each participant will each write multiple one-minute “scores for improvisation” using the concepts they have studied in the workshop. The group then presents these scores in a final workshop concert. Making their own scores empowers the participants to consider the music in it’s entirety-not just their individual roles in it. They must not only conceive the scores, they also must write them out and then communicate to the group how they want their scores played. This involves skills usually not taught in workshops of this kind. Scores can (and have) ranged from the very complex to the extremely conceptual. This is one of the must satisfying parts of the workshop for the participants.
The lecture is multi-disciplinary, and for all levels of student and professional musicians, artists, and the interested general public. The event consists of a lecture, a question and answer period, and, if time permits, a demonstration, through recorded music, of many of the concepts discussed in the lecture.
These include: possible goals and directions of a life in music, and of musical education; the different techniques needed to reach those different goals; the folly of goals, practicing regimens, the idea of practice being music and not "something else"; the attainment of one’s own sound and voice in music and the enjoyment of same; the relevance of other disciplines to the musician; the use and misuse of imitation; the seductive power of beauty and it’s dangers; detachment as a state of grace; the un-setting of one’s mind; the stages of hearing-how to hear, how to listen; the importance of context; the power of expectation; the surprising freedom in limitation; risk taking; true free thinking; and meditations on John Cage, Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Miles Davis, The Band, William Faulkner, Alfred Hitchcock, Antonio Gaudi, Led Zeppelin, Gregory Bateson, Joe Montana, Constantin Stanislavski, George Balanchine, Johannes Vermeer, Yvonne Rainer, Mies van der Rohe, Brunelleschi’s Dome, and Napoleon.
Bobby Previte has held masterclasses and led workshops at Princeton University, The Eastman School of Music, New York University, The New School, Bard College, Cornish College of the Arts, The School of Jazz at Perth, The University of Buffalo, Istanbul Conservatory, The Walker Art Center, Purchase College, and the Lucerne School of Music, among many others.
MASTERCLASS/RESIDENCY INCORPORATING “BLUEPRINTS”
Residencies of at least one full day can incorporate the work BLUEPRINTS as a teaching vehicle. BLUEPRINTS is a live piece investigating the nexus between notated and improvised music, and has been performed regularly by a rotating ensemble since 2017.BLUEPRINTS uses fragments of Previte’s 40 years of compositions along with the use of “conduction” techniques to create a living, spontaneous, ever-changing and surprising music. NOTE - the optional incorporation of BLUEPRINTS into the residency does require proficiency in reading music.
MILES DAVIS – BITCHES BREW WORKSHOP
In 1999 Previte started what was to become a weekly gig at the old Knitting Factory in New York, leading a band doing the music of an surrounding Miles Davis’s seminal 1970’s masterpiece “Bitches Brew.” Now, armed with the charts that he transcribed from that great record, Previte travels to locations around the world, rehearses musicians and directs them in a concert performance.
The Bitches Brew workshop has been held in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, the Cheltenham Jazz Festival/Birmingham Conservatoire, UK, Seattle, WA, Hudson NY, Buffalo NY, and New York City.
The musicians who experience playing this brilliant, visionary work are transformed overnight; many remark that playing this music is cathartic and life-changing. Previte’s Bitches Brew Project is the perfect vehicle for teaching musicians patience, thoughtfulness, deep listening, and above of all, how to banish fear from their playing.
TERMINALS – PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE WORKSHOP
Bobby Previte brings his five part, 75 minute percussion tour-de-force TERMINALS QUARTETS to university and professional ensembles. Using an large array of instruments, these works are a perfect vehicle for students as they require not only exacting reading and performing skills but also some degree of improvisation, an awareness of feel, and theatrical presence. Mr.Previte is available to coach percussion ensembles in this workshop. TERMINALS QUARTETS has been performed at the 2015 PASIC Conference and at Tanglewood under the direction of George Nickson.
By appointment in Previte’s New York City or upstate studio email: firstname.lastname@example.org