for classical musicians

Welcome to my improvisation website!

My name is Jonathan Ayerst and I'm a professional organist, pianist, and improviser. From a background training in interpretive performance (Wells Cathedral School later, the Royal Academy of Music, London) I also learnt to improvise (at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule with Jürgen Essl) using classical music as models. At the same time I made a psychological study of my learning process as the subject of my PhD - please see the Psychology page for more on this.

What does it mean to be a psychological improviser? For me, psychology means a study of thinking. This is really useful for improvising, because instead of focusing only on the music (is it good, bad, correct, etc.) I'm able to study what kind of thinking results in different kinds of music and different kinds of improvising experience. Ultimately, through patiently studying my thinking while I improvise, I'm able to control my improvising better, to have a more rewarding learning experience and to be more objective.

Feel free to use the exercises and templates; also psychological questionnaires if you find them useful.

If you'd like to contact me personally please use this form


Bach-style improvisation