The Gift of Improvisation


“I wonder how many people, whatever their medium, appreciate the gift of improvisation. It’s your one opportunity in life to be completely free, with no responsibilities and no consequences. You don’t have to be good or great, or even interesting. It’s you alone, with no one watching or judging. If anything comes of it, you decide whether the world gets to see it. In essence, you are giving yourself permission to daydream during work hours.

“I suppose this is no different from a songwriter noodling around at the keyboard waiting for a corpuscle of music to emerge and engage the ear, or a painter dashing off sketches right and left until one pleases the eye. That’s what improvising is like for me. There’s no tollbooth between my impulse and my action. I just do it and I consider the results, the consequences, and the truth (if any) later in repose. That’s an incredible place to be. If you’re privileged enough to be able to do that for forty-five minutes a few days a week, you have been given something wonderful.”