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Developing technical control, ensemble interaction, and flow within jazz performance

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posted on 23.02.2017, 03:14 by Williamson, Paul
This exegesis explicates the approaches, processes and experiences within my performance practice. It explores relationships among studio practice, performance, the flow state, improvisation and composition. The exegesis also looks into balancing individual conception and technical control with interactive ensemble performance. The outcomes of this research project include compositions, commercially released recordings, and a major recital. The practice-led research model has been a pertinent methodology in this research for experimenting, documenting, and reflecting within my studio practice, rehearsals, performances, recordings, and compositions. Research-led practice has also been a key methodology in this project, establishing concepts and theoretical constructs, such as the idea of flow. Additionally, the investigation of trends within Australian jazz and the examination of seminal practitioners and ensembles has contextualised and influenced my approach as a composer and contemporary jazz trumpeter. The advantages of performing in flow, the development of technique that enables the practitioner to execute ideas with accuracy and immediacy, and developing a flexible vocabulary for improvised and interactive ensemble performance are specific to my own performance practice and have provided a grounding for developing my recital. These approaches might be adopted in the future by other practitioners, specifically jazz musicians seeking to gain greater awareness and understanding of the preparation and experience of improvised jazz performance. Although the literature within the field of practice-led research is growing, to date only a small portion of it has focused on the specific issues relevant to performance within jazz music. In addition to the primary recital outcome, a secondary aim of this research was to develop a better understanding of the particular issues that jazz musicians face within performance.


Principal supervisor

Thomas Reiner

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts