Paul De Maeyer How to learn to improvise?
Het ORGEL 96 (2000), nr. 3, 9-18 [summary]

Many people are inhibited when it comes to opening their mind to others; they prefer to protect themselves against from possible contempt. This is an important point for everyone who wants to teach others to improvise on the organ. Improvisation lessons can help to discover one's own musical ideas and to learn to structure the emotions that come with them. Improvising offers the pupil the opportunity to train his imagination, to make music in an active way and to understand other arts better as well. Very important is that the pupil learns to imagine what story he wants to tell while he makes music. Useful tools are: association (by brainstorming with the help of so-called mind maps) and by using what one experiences when confronted with other arts); and controlling the associations by keeping an 'ear' on movement, structure and technique. Conditions for the development of the ability to associate and control are: enthusiasm, being aware that music is 'living sound', that making music is like telling a story (rhetorical aspects), concentration, self-confidence. A little drill can help as well: lessons and study on a regular basis lead more quickly convincing results.

The improviser speaks a language of his own. It is possible to learn this language as a young child. At first it sounds like gibberish, then it becomes refined. The musician is the key-figure; the organ itself just lends him its marvellous voice.