In the last few years, interest in historical improvisation and composition has exploded, in large part due to the work of earnest scholars uncovering fruitful details of the Neapolitan schools of Partimento and Solfeggio. What’s more, the ability to improvise fluently within a style is becoming more and more expected of young musicians. The problem is that many students are absolutely horrified at the thought of having to improvise publicly, a fact that is completely unsurprising in light of the conspicuous lack of education they receive on this topic.
Mr. Canzano offers a highly structured, lucid approach to extemporizing in baroque style, informed by his years of experience in improvising, composing, researching, and performing early music, and importantly, in teaching it. He takes lessons with the students in his studio very seriously, having a devoted interest in their success, in the proliferation of improvisation techniques in classical music, and in the refinement of an efficacious pedagogy for historical improvisation.
Mr. Canzano’s teaching combines historical methods with novel approaches and the most current musicology, wherein the baroque style is broken down into categories (cadences, sequences, and like “schemata”) which can be easily retained, later to be modified and re-assembled into larger building blocks. These idioms are then slowly layered into an understanding of baroque construction that can be used to play, improvise, compose, and listen. These lessons are tailored uniquely to each student, their instrument of choice, their background, current ability, and time commitment. Mr. Canzano starts all relevant students, no matter their instrument, with a firm foundation in basso continuo, and has devised methods for players of melodic instruments to acquire this indispensable tool without immediate keyboard fluency.