How do improvisation experiences help to develop the confidence needed to create authentic communication for authentic purposes? 

According to Keith Sawyer[1], the key characteristics of improvisation include

  • unpredictable outcome, rather than a scripted, known endpoint;
  • moment-to-moment contingency: the next dialogue [emphasis added] turn depends on the one just before;
  • open to collaboration [emphasis added];
  • an oral performance, not a written product;
  • embedded in the social context of the performance.

Similarly, the Lab 6 stressed the efficacy of collaboration especially because, in the cooperative learning environment established, students and teachers from the six partner institutions of the RAPP Lab project met students from the University RomaTre PhD, teachers from Italian conservatories and Italian universities.

In fact, in the working groups, participants faced how much improvising and interrelating (as each component of the Lab 6 interrelates with all the others) with other beings-bodies are entangled practices. 

Collaboration and communication, in the broadest sense of both terms, are part of the same improvisational experience, especially in group contexts, this because “musical improvisation is an encounter. It is an encounter between sounds, bodies—both human and otherwise—and ideas. All these entities—Bruno Latour (2004, 237) calls them actants—are affected by this encounter, just as the encounter itself is influenced by the entities involved […and as consequence] we are incited to perform, to act, to react”[2].

The Lab 6 was also created thanks to the collaboration of the Music Education department of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Music which invited external teachers, experts and artists (Milena Cappabianca, Adriano Ercolani, Victor Vertunni, Manish Madankar, Valeria Vespaziani, Raffaele di Mauro, Nando Citarella, Marko Miladinović, Fiorella Battaglia), with internal funds. This created a fertile communication also with the internal teachers involved in the project (Carla Conti, Duilio D'Alfonso, Daniele Roccato). So that the RAPP Lab project has been well known also in the respective institutions to which all teachers belong. Moreover, students attending the first Italian PhD in "Cultures-practices-and-technologies-of-cinema-media-music-theater-and-dance"[3] (RomaTre - coordinator in collaboration with University of Teramo, Santa Cecilia Conservatory, National Academy of Dance, ABA Roma Fine art Academy) participated to all lectures and workshops. 

For the members of an institution such the Conservatory of Music Santa Cecilia, that is aimed to internationalism, inclusiveness and interdisciplinarity the Lab 6 was an opportunity to concretely collaborate with the RAPP Lab’s partners and to discuss relevant issues in improvisation, to apply methodological approaches and to envision future developments of the same field.

The communication among all participants took place, before during and after Lab 6. First by creating a mailing list and by signing up to the 'internal area' of the project website where they introduced each other, exchanged views. During Lab 6 the participants received daily emails, so-called 'info letters', to update them, to support them in the search for instruments (borrowed free of charge from the Santa Cecilia conservatory), to send news and warn them of materials uploaded to the internal area they had been prepared by teachers/artists. After the Lab 6, some students remained in concrete contact and communicated also for their participation in other initiatives (AEC's EPARM 2023).

[1] R. Keith Sawyer, Improvisation and Narrative. Narrative Inquiry, 12 (2), p. 321, 2002 Amsterdam

[2] Vincent Meelberg, Perform Now! The Ethics of Musical Improvisation (pp.145-151) introduction, in Paulo de Assis& Paolo Giudici, editors. Dark Precursor: Deleuze and Artistic Research. Leuven University Press, 2017.