From 1983 Stevens was involved with Community Music, an organisation through which he took his form of music making to youth clubs, mental health institutions and other unusual places. Notes taken during these sessions were later turned into a book for the Open University called Search and Reflect (1985)
Title: Search and reflect
Author: John Stevens
Publisher: Rockschool LTD
Buy searcha and reflect at Musicroom website : URL LINK
An essential resource for anyone involved in the delivery of workshops that explore the nature and practice of free improvisation in music.
The following review is lifted from
This music workshop manual documents the pieces used by the London-based organisation Community Music in its workshops. The value in these pieces lies in their practical application and they are an excellent tool for every music workshop leader, for every music teacher, and for individual musicians with an interest in improvisation. The pieces are designed to encourage more people to participate in group music-making and therefore cater as much for the musically inexperienced as for the proficient musican. Each piece includes detailed guidance, but only a few include musical notation. They may be played or sung.
An introduction – Preliminaries – offers invaluable advice on how to run an effective improvisation workshop. The manual is then divided into two sections – Rhythm and Improvisation. In the Rhythm Section, the twelve pieces aim to help develop rhythmic skills - maintaining regular tempo, independence, and overall rhythmic awareness. The author demonstrates the essence of timekeeping with the basic unit of ONE TWO. This is presented with clear guidelines for its practice and development, stage by stage. Later, the Rhythm Tree chapter teaches how to play 3 over 4, 5 over 4, and 7 over 4, with many practical ideas and exercises for workshop use. Oddseven explores the harmonic possibilities of a scale within a rhythmic framework.
The Improvisation Section deals with specific processes and skills which help to prepare the way for a sensitive, concentrated approach to create group interaction and individual spontaneity. Beginning with three preparatory exercises to encourage each individual to maintain a balance between being a receptive ear and having creative freedom, this section continues with Click Piece (focussing on short sounds, independence and connectiveness), Sustain (focussing on long sounds and breathing) and a further 14 pieces which develop listening and playing skills within a group environment.
Search and Reflect was first published in 1985 by Community Music, with a foreword by Christopher Small. This edition is re-published by Rockschool in 2007, with additional forewords by Steve Beresford and Maggie Nicols.
Book, spiral-bound, 112 pages