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Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness

Jazz as Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society

Edward W. Sarath

Publication Year: 2013

Using insights from Integral Theory, describes how the improvisational methods of jazz can inform education and other fields.

Published by: State University of New York Press

TItle Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xii

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pp. 1-22

That humanity has arrived at a crossroads of historical significance by now requires little elaboration. The question is how, or even if, we will navigate our way through this critical juncture.1 On one hand, issues such as climate change and environmental devastation, widespread poverty and disease, drought and famine, terrorism and increasingly sophisticated ...

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Part I: Creativity, Consciousness, and the Integral Vision

What is Integral Theory? What does it have to offer personal and collective development, particularly at this juncture in human history when questions about sustainability loom as never before? What are the prospects of integral approaches being adopted in education and society, and what might the new models look like? Why is jazz uniquely equipped as a ...

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Chapter 1: The AQAL Framework

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pp. 25-36

This chapter introduces the AQAL framework and closely related first-, second-, and third-person perspectives or realities as primary tools that map the interior and exterior dimensions of the human being and cosmic wholeness. The purpose of human development is to realize oneness with this totality, which is synonymous with growth of creativity ...

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Chapter 2: Improvisation-driven Growth of Creativity and Consciousness

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pp. 37-78

What is it about the jazz process scope that renders the idiom an integral transformational agent? This chapter replies to this question with an exploration of the improvisatory foundations of the jazz process spectrum, as well as more general process-related integral principles. As will be seen, it is not only that jazz is among the most improvisatory art forms that exists, but also that its improvisatory core supports and integrates an ...

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Chapter 3: Meditation-driven Growth of Creativity and Consciousness

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pp. 79-122

What is meditation? What is its role in creativity-consciousness development? How does it work in tandem with improvisation to promote this growth? What are the traditional landmarks of meditation-driven, creativity-consciousness development as defined by spiritual traditions? What insights might be brought to light on this growth from an integral...

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Chapter 4: Integral Evolutionary Dynamics

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pp. 123-146

This chapter covers the third of our three primary integral lenses, the evolutionary dynamics by which systems develop over time. It elaborates upon two general principles, both of which have already been encountered in a variety of forms, and introduces further considerations that enhance our grasp of the paradigmatic change that is among the central themes...

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Part II: Jazz: An Integral Reading

This part of the book brings jazz and the unique insights into the genre illuminated by an integral perspective into closer focus. Chapter 5 begins with a look at the conservative orientation of jazz education in musical academe and how it has inherited “materialist” tendencies—or confinement to third-person, exterior dimensions—from its broader musical and ...

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Chapter 5: Jazz and the Academy

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pp. 149-168

In the fall of 2003, I was a participant in a symposium convened by Harvard University’s Law and Business Schools called Improvisation and Negotiation.2 Perhaps ironically given the theme, jazz musicians comprised a distinct minority at the event, with the majority consisting of psychologists, sociologists, lawyers, corporate leaders, and colleagues from ...

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Chapter 6: Invention: Improvisation and Composition as Contrasting Pathways to Transcendence

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pp. 169-206

In the summer of 1979, I attended a meditation retreat in the wooded hills of western Massachusetts. Toward the end of a long and particularly deep session, an image appeared in my mind’s eye, the significance of which would not become evident until several years later. The image was of an exquisitely ornate geometrical shape, the details of which, as ...

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Chapter 7: Interaction: A Systems View of the Improvisation Process

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pp. 207-222

What is interaction? What is its role in integral creative development? Is interaction merely the exchange of ideas, or information, or material resources? Or might it entail a kind of merging that transcends these levels of exchange? Stephen Nachmanovitch equates peak improvised interaction with “an intimacy that cannot be reached through words or...

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Chapter 8: Individuation: An Integral View of Personal and Collective Style Evolution

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pp. 223-244

The jazz tradition has always placed great emphasis on the cultivation of a distinctly personal voice. Yusef Lateef has based his teaching in this principle: “I try to get students to be themselves, because that’s when new and interesting things will be presented and given to the culture. That’s the nature of this music, African American music, to sound like...

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Chapter 9: Jazz: An Integral Reading

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pp. 245-288

Louis Armstrong’s famous response to this question over a half century ago—“Man, when you got to ask what is it, you’ll never get to know”— conveyed, in his inimitable way, the ontologically elusive nature of the genre.1 Combining highly emotive expressive nuances that can only be mastered aurally with a vibrant creative core and extraordinary technical...

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Part III: Change

This final section explores the issue of paradigmatic change on three fronts—musical study, education at large, and society. Chapter 10 explores what an integral school of music might look like and the many ways it would differ from conventional schools, while in many instances subsuming aspects of the latter within a vastly expanded and reconfigured framework. This would allow the jazz-inspired integral template to take...

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Chapter 10: The Music School of the Future

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pp. 291-346

As apt as these observations about the pedagogical and creative benefits of improvisation may have been in Hummel’s early nineteenth-century musical world, they are all the more so in the early part of the twentyfirst. As the primary means for artistic expression and navigating the confluence of musical streams that is increasingly characteristic of our...

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Chapter 11: Paradigmatic Change and the Twenty-first-century Academy

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pp. 347-396

Anyone who has spent much time on a curriculum committee knows all too well the truth in Wilson’s remark. And if the jazz-driven integral transformation of musical study is to catalyze similar reform in education at large, curricular models will not only need to undergo change but the entire educational enterprise must be overhauled from the ground level on...

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Chapter 12: Planet Earth Takes a Solo

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pp. 397-414

“Giant Steps,” “Lazy Bird,” “Countdown,” and “Moment’s Notice” are among a wave of compositions from John Coltrane’s late tonal period that posed unprecedented challenges for musicians when it came to improvising on the harmonic structures of these pieces. Requiring the navigation of chord sequences that moved rapidly between distant key areas, these ...


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pp. 415-448


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pp. 449-466


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pp. 467-476

Back Cover

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p. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9781438447230
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438447216

Page Count: 487
Publication Year: 2013