Fall 2009

Improvisational Thinking


Dominic L. Poccia (Section 01)


Much of our work in college is applied to activities that involve large amounts of reworking and editing.  But in many endeavors, efforts that are apparently more spontaneous are required.  Thinking in improvisational modes requires several special techniques, and yet is done by virtually all of us at times.  Improvisation can be used to solve emergency problems or create art at the highest levels.  Dictionary definitions of improvisation usually refer to "inventing or reciting without preparation," "executing something offhandedly" or "preparing hastily or without previous preparation."  In reality, preparation for successful improvisation is arduous, although editing occurs just before or during the act of execution.  We will explore improvisational thinking with the aid of several skilled practitioners of improvisation as guest lecturers and performers.  We will ask how improvisational thinking differs from other ways of thinking and how it is similar.  We will inquire into the variety of techniques used in improvisation and discuss its relationship to the creative process.  Neither improvisation nor creativity is limited to the arts or any other discipline.  We will draw from diverse fields including jazz, Indian music, rap, Chinese painting, dance, mime, science, cooking, sports, story telling, psychotherapy, poetry and stand-up comedy.  Class discussion is encouraged and students will have several opportunities to improvise in class and explore their individual interests in improvisation.

Fall semester.  Professor Poccia.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Fall 2010