About Improkortit

Five different categories to support learning

Character cards

Character cards can be used as a theme for a composition or improvisation. Examples of the cards include “mammoth” and “waterfall”. One card can be used to create the entire composition, or two different cards can be used to compose a two-part song that brings out the different characteristics of the cards. Character cards can also be used to play a guessing game in a group: one player draws a card and plays it, while others try to guess what the character is. Fun and easy – also good for beginners!

Adjective cards

Examples of adjective cards include “lively” and “sad”. There are also some cards that contain musical terms, such as “misterioso”. The explanations for these terms can be found in the vocabulary included with the cards. Like the character cards, adjective cards can also be used as a theme for a composition or improvisation. The cards can be used in numerous ways, only limited by the imagination: when searching for more nuances for a piece given as homework, the student can draw a card and play the song or part of it “sleepily”, for example. The player can come up with a little melody or choose a familiar piece of melody and play it in different ways as dictated by the cards. Various kinds of techniques and nuances can also be found without doing any actual improvisation: the student can just pick a few sounds and play them first in a “slimy” way, and afterwards in a “velvety” way. What changes?

Material cards

The idea of the material cards is to provide building material for improvisation and compositions, as well as to help in the learning of musical terms. The cards include terms such as “major” and “Dorian scale”, but also “glissando” and “cluster”. If you are unfamiliar with a term, they can all be found in the vocabulary included with the cards. The material cards can be used in a group to play a word explanation game, the rules of which can be found in the instructions included with the cards. The cards can also be used individually to learn different musical terms with an instrument in a concrete way. However, you will get the most out of the cards by using them as base material for improvisation and compositions. This way, the students can learn about the different concepts related to music theory by actually playing. The cards also make group improvisation more coherent, as the players all share a common ground for the work or a part of it (like the pentatonic scale, for example).

Interval cards

Interval cards contain intervals from prime to octave. They can be used in improvisation and compositions in the same way as the material cards to make the song more coherent and harmonious. The cards can also be used to learn more about intervals by listening, playing and singing.

Tempo and dynamics cards

The tempo and dynamics cards are related to the speed and intensity variations of the improvised song. They can also be used to play a word explanation game, like the material cards, or to enliven a piece given as homework. Examples of cards include “diminuendo” and “presto”. When improvising, the tempo and dynamics cards should be drawn from the deck the last, as fitting them with the other cards is usually easier.

Five facts about Improkortit – Improvisation Cards

You can use the cards to improvise and compose short pieces alone or in a group.

The cards will help you learn musical terms and let you create different nuances and moods with your instrument.

The cards come with instructions and a vocabulary for easy playing.

The cards currently exist in English, Swedish and Finnish.

Improkortit can be used with a teacher by musicians of all ages, regardless of their instrument.

“The students ask me every time, ‘Can we take out the cards?!’”

Piano teacher, Tampere

“The cards are fun, because they give ideas for improvisation, and you don’t have to come up with everything on your own. Playing is easier, and the songs become more diverse.”

Student 10 years old, Pori