Faculty of Arts

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music


Dr Adrian McNeil



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


This unit provides a series of structured strategies and devices for developing a systematic approach to melodic based improvisation skills. It looks at melodic elements and structures in terms of modes, intonation, microtonal inflections and flavours and draws upon systems and processes for developing improvisatory approaches from jazz, blues, Hindustani music, Arabic music, Latin music, Western art music and other musical sources. The unit involves both practical and theoretical components.


Upon completion of this unit, students are able to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of improvisation in music.
  2. Critically evaluate and analyse the formative relationship between culture, music and improvisation practices.
  3. Interpret the forms and processes of improvisatory practices from a diverse range of cultural sources.
  4. Implement practical skills and strategies for developing individual improvisatory approaches to music.
  5. Critically engage with the primary connections between compositional and improvisational skills.
  6. Evaluate and analyse the skill levels required, and developed, by great improvisers in different musical contexts.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.