THE DREA WAGNER AWARD FOR BEST DEMONSTRATION OF GENUINELY SPONTANEOUS IMPROVISATION IN ANY STYLE (SOLO OR PIANO ENSEMBLE)
• Improvise on an extra-musical scene selected by the judges (not revealed in advance)
• Improvise in the key of either C, F, or G (judges' choice) using I, II, IV & V chords (judges may choose some or all of these)
• Improvise in jazz or "classical" style (judge's choice) using I, IV & V chords
• Improvise in C Major on a spontaneous blues pattern played by one of the judges on a second piano (or as a duet - 1 piano, 4 hands - with one of the judges)
• Improvise on a 4, 5, or 6-note motive (white keys) selected by the judges
• Improvise on a 3, 4, or 5-note motive (black keys) in which the 1st and last notes are selected by the judge and the other notes are selected by the contestant
• Improvise on an image or mood starting with the letter "___" (letter determined by judges). (Or: Student determines the letter, but judge picks mood or image starting with that letter.)
• Improvise on a simple "fake" chart (not revealed in advance, except perhaps for broad description of parameters - key, types of chord such as I, IV V, etc.). [Judges & Director will have fake charts handy for this if requested.]
• Sight-read and improvise on a short melody notated on a one-line "staff" by one of the judges. (Fill out harmonies? Vary rhythms, meter, etc?) See Houle's It's Easy to Improvise.
• Demonstrate randomly selected elements from one of the highly recommended Flip for Improvisation* books by Christine J. Schumann:
Flip for Improvisation--Pictures in Sound (in 3 books):
* The judges would select a random page from each of the sections of one of these books. A sample result might be "Creeping Caterpillar," "C Major Scale" and "Triplets." The contestant then improvises something that sounds like a "Creeping Caterpillar" while using the C Major scale and triplet rhythms.
• Piano Teacher's Guide to Creative Composition by Carol Klose**
• Creative Composition Toolbox (in 6 books) by Wynn-Anne Rossi**
• Creative Pedagogy for Piano Teachers: Using Musical Games and Aural Techniques as a Dynamic Supplement for Piano Teaching by Jeffrey Agrell & Aura Strohschein***
***Endorsed by Drs. Salmon and Houle
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