The International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM) Blog

Young Children and Improvisation

Posted in Eliška_Cílková by iawmblog on May 6, 2010

My musical career started when I was four years old. I started to play piano because I loved listening music and we had an instrument in our living room. I played by ear before I learned to read music. I played anything I heard and enjoyed.

At the age of five, my mother took me to basic music school to hone my skills. This was shortly after the fall of Communism in the Czech Republic. I had to play Czerny’s Etudes, and Baroque and Classical works: boring pieces I didn’t like as a five-year-old. Several times I wanted to quit but fortunately, I came in contact with new instructors who nurtured my love of music.

When I was fifteen I entered a music school in Prague that included composition and improvisation in the curriculum. I was quite surprised at the difference! I loved it. Nowadays, improvisation is a part of curriculum at most music schools in the Czech Republic.

Improvisation has become an important component of music lessons. And what’s more, it’s very helpful. My friend is a teacher of improvisation. She told me there many ways to teach improvisation. For example, she paints pictures and then shows it to the students (5-6 years old) and says, “Play, play, what you see”.

She told me a story about a very talented seven-year-old girl. She improvised a thunderstorm. She started to play the deep tones: that was thunder. Next, she moved to the right part of the fingerboard and she quickly played high tones: that was rain. Than she started to add more and more tones and used the whole fingerboard. Finally she played a C minor chord which resolved to C major: that was the sun.

Parents of my friend’s students children have said, “Our children are better at classical piano than before and it’s because they do not only concentrate on reading notes and moving their fingers. They listen to what they play. That’s thanks to studying improvisation.”

Improvisation is very beneficial for everyone, for every instrumentalist or singer. It develops color imagination. I’m very happy that improvisation is more readily taught in music lessons.


Eliška Cílková recently moved to Bratislava, Slovakia where she is in her first year studying composition at Academy of Music. She blogs about her experiences as a student at the Jazz Conservatory in Prague.


2 Responses

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  1. Arts Entertainment said, on May 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Hi! Just wanna say I like your posting.
    I think it’s interesting..
    Surely, i will read your next postings.Keep the good work!!

    a.e. (“,)

  2. Eliška Cílková said, on May 7, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Thank you very much ! Eliška

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