Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Dr Geoffrey Lowe

Second Supervisor

Tim White


Little formal research has been undertaken into the processes associated with jazz improvisation, particularly those associated with practising to become an elite jazz improviser. This study seeks to understand the role of instrumental practice, particularly physical practice strategies and the associated mental states, in the development of jazz improvisers. Interviews were conducted with six improvisers of various ages, instruments and backgrounds. The study identified a number of strategies specific to jazz practice that differed from traditional practice strategies described in Western art literature, particularly in relation to the importance of the ear-to-instrument connection. Accordingly, the study sets out a series of recommendations relating to practice for those aspiring to become master jazz performers.