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Free improvisation—in music and in life

From the May 2002 issue of The Christian Science Journal

There's A Bad Dream many of us have had, or at least have heard others discussing, which goes something like this. You're sitting in a classroom. You may not even know what the subjects is or even why you are in the class, and now the teacher is handing out a test. You look at the test and realize, to your horror that you've never seen the material before. You are totally unprepared. You're going to flunk.

Well, if that's scary, how about this real-life experience that I've had many times? You walk onto a stage, in front of a roomful of expectant people, and pick up a musical instrument (in my case, a guitar). You look around the stage and realize that you have no idea what you are supposed to play. Neither do your musical collaborators. And yet, as you begin to play, what comes out is beautiful, inspired music. How can this be?

This is the experience of playing Free (improvised) Music, which falls loosely into the category of jazz. Free Music is a real-time activity of Soul. The book Science and Health says, "The influence or action of Soul confers a freedom, which explain the phenomena of improvisation and the fervor of untutored lips." Science and Health, p. 89. This gift of freedom allows the Free Musician to walk a musical tightrope without the need of a safety net in the form of a predetermined score. When one is in touch with Soul, no fear or intimidation in the guise of stage fright or uncertainty can block the free flow of ideas from the one true infinite intelligence to the musicians who serve as a conduit for the eternal music which is forever unfolding. This freedom can also be asserted in one's non-musical daily life, as the birthright of a child of God.

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