Improvising and Devising cheat sheet (click to download pdf)

Imagine your instrument as a noise-making machine
Luigi Russolo and his Intonarumori instruments (built between 1910 and 1930)

Anti-art and anti-music
Use non-musical sounds to make music, such as speech
Kurt Schwitters and his Ursonate (written between 1922-32)

Use the extreme registers of your instrument
Free atonality (not strict 12-tone)
Use text as structure
Arnold Schönberg’s Erwartung (composed in 1909 but not performed until 1924)

Make an empty structure using durations and then fill it with music
Imagine punctuating silence with sound
John Cage’s Imaginary Landscape Number 4 (for radios and written in 1942)

People doing the same action at their own pace
Variation comes from individual differences
John White’s Drinking and Hooting Machine (1968)

‘On the Edge – Improvisation in Music #1 Passing It On’
4-part TV series broadcast on Channel 4 in 1992
It is an hour long, but will really help you!