Element 3: Improvising your own recipes


This module section deals with short verbal prompts that serve as a guide for instrumental improvisation. These prompts act like a title of a music piece and create a certain listening expectation. At the same time, sufficient freedom is given for individual interpretation. As an exercise on inventing music, these guided improvisations may encourage pupils to develop their own ideas and test them in class.

Duration: 2 x 90 min

Key words creativity & entrepreneurship: Working in Teams, Development of ideas and solutions, Production and overtaking risks

Best practice


  1. Pupils sit or stand in a semi-circle with a good view of all participants. They each select a music instrument and hold on to it, ready to play.
  2. The teacher draws a picture on the blackboard with the title „add“. The pupils describe possible interpretations of this playing instruction, for example:
    • joining music performance one by one
    • playing long, soft tones/ sounds
    • stopping after the last player has finished
  1. The first realisation is preceded by the organisational and technical preparation of the individual steps:
    • Joining music performance one by one: Pupils agree on the order in which the instruments start in the performance. Each change of the order leads to a new sound experience. Examples of orders may be:
      • the seating arrangement
      • the instruments
      • the playing technique
      • students‘ body height etc.
      • the date of birth
  • Playing long, soft tones/sounds: Pupils try and practice playing techniques that prolong the sound, for example, tremolo, tone repetition, and circular breathing for instruments:
    • whose sound fades after attack (e.g. piano, cymbals, glockenspiel, guitar…)
    • which are subject to a temporal limitation by the length of the breath (e.g. wind instruments, voice…)
  1. Realisation of the music, optionally with recording, and subsequent reflection on:
    1. Accuracy of the realisation of agreed arrangements
    2. Course of tension/chronological sequence (does everyone start at the same time intervals, one after each other, or at different time intervals?)
    3. Quality of sound (how was the parameter “soft” achieved?  Were there different qualities of “soft”?)

Pupils apply the suggested changes and repeat the process of reflection and performance until they reach their desired results.


Pupils suggest their own ideas, for example “Only one at a time”:

Immer nur einer Version 1

Immer nur einer Version 2

Teacher and pupils together agree on the topics of the improvisations and suggest titles for various improvisation objectives.


The pupils are able to:

  • refine their playing technique on school instruments as well as on their own instruments.
  • develop simple musical processes.
  • increase their auditory perception with regards to sound quality.
  • experience, practice and differentiate various forms of musical interaction.
  • develop self-efficacy by helping create musical-creative processes.
  • increase and deepen their music-aesthetic knowledge.


  • instruments
  • recording device (where possible)
  • blackboard