TED Talks put out a series of talks for Jazz lovers, within this compilation was one that just stood out for me, highlighting improvisation and the effects on the brain:
Charles Limb: Your Brain on Improv
- particularly in my field of work with about 75% of students learning a classical curriculum, there is not a lot of wiggle room within the already compact lesson time to cover technique, ear training, aural exercises, pieces, etudes, AND have fun with improvisation (unfortunately!)
I do my best to incorporate improvisation whenever possible -as in, if there's 5 minutes to spare, the student never leaves the lesson early -ever, instead, we fill that time with unwinding the lesson (a "cool-down", if you will) by 'playing together'. Where the student has creative freedom with no worry about playing something "wrong" -only focusing on movement of the fingers, using some technical aspect to help guide their melody, and/or playing whatever they feel that sounds good to their ears.
- this talk by Charles Limb is truly amazing and fully supportive of the benefits of improvisation, either at home and/or during the lesson :) Scientifically backed by experiments including brain scans!
Other TED Videos that are worth a watch :)