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The Pedagogy > The Improvisation





Started by the permission of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research.

Academy of the Fine Arts of Agrigento

Vote: 100/100



Teacher: Maestro Fabrizio Fiordiponti






What’s the recipe for a flexible learning aiming at a social growing towards the good?


NOTE: It is drawn up in oratorical/theatrical style, as if it should be performed to an audience, letting the thought at full gallop, respecting the theme.



Pedagogy is a Science, because it is made up by an organic system of knowledge. The receiver of the theoretical and practical products of Pedagogy is the Man, who is the acting subject and, at the same time, also the first object of the educational practises. He is the receiver of this science, and, for this reason, he is the aim of the whole pedagogic research.

Mario Gennari – from “A General Pedagogy Treatise”, Bompiani Editions, 2006




Since the beginning of the mankind, we can observe how the man had learned basic scientific knowledge simply by improvising. The method of the research was not  infused into the Man from birth, but it was learned. On the contrary, curiosity seems to be innate. The Man learned to investigate by experimenting different ways, and, in the course of the evolution over the time, by arriving at scientific achievements, that, in the meantime, have stimulated other ones. So, discovery in discovery, knowledge into knowledge, our brains gradually developed until our time.

The intellectual development of the Man keeps up with his cognitive conquests. For this reason we can state that the Man is still substantially stupid, as Albert Einstein said: “There are two things that are infinite: the Universe and the human stupidity”.

As a matter of fact, there is still a lot to understand -  infinitely a lot ...

You need to wonder what could be the intelligence of a Man, who would be able to understand the Laws that rule the Universe, who would be able to travel into the space beyond the current limits, who would be able to solve his own conflicts without wars.

The main discoveries of the Man have occurred practically by means of a method, that is to all appearance simplistic, but it is more complex than it could seem: it is the improvisational method. The improvisation is not fortuitousness, namely, an occurrence that  happened unconsciously and unintentionally. On the contrary, the improvisation is a pursuit, that has its own definite aim, and that could be faced through many ways. These ways could also be aesthetically different between them, not all exactly definite a priori, but all known a priori. The improvisation is a journey towards a possibility, a journey towards an alternative, an experimental, but not fortuitous journey, because it is always the result of conscious choices, even if these are extemporary, and not programmed in proper advance. The improvisation can lead to a new discovery, but it is not told that this would systematically happen. As a matter of fact, the improvisation needs speed and flexibility of thinking, ability of changes, also of instantaneous changes, towards the route you need to hold, in order to arrive always at the same destination you are longing for (sometimes the destination could be not known a priori, and there you have the discovery). The improvisation needs also opening of the mind, mnemonic skills, the lack of prejudices, and culture, a lot of culture. It occurs in itinere, not at the end of the route, as it happens when there is the programming. In the programming, it occurs in the end what has already happened, as we note that it is impossible to remedy the unexpected occurrences, unless you prepare a new programming. The unexpected occurrences, by their very nature - because we didn’t think of them a priori - cause mistakes, that are impossible to correct, as they had occurred a long time ago. We know that the programming doesn’t allow the unexpected variables, that nevertheless are always present. And it is more and more difficult to face the complexity by means of the only programming: “warning with the forefinger of the hand”.

The improvisation reflects upon itself, thinks of itself, while it is taking place, and it is correcting itself in its development, as it allows the possibility of going back, in order to correct a mistake, by adopting another in itinere system - actually, we always go on -, so that you have final results, that enormously reduce the very possibilities of being wrong. The improvisation supports the idea, the creativity, the illumination and the inspiration. So, the improvisation occurs in the presence of certain and precise rules. It is neither anarchy, nor lack of rules or laws, nor fortuitousness - as we said before -, but it is simply a flexible route of learning and/or research with a precise aim, that needs a good dose of mental opening, flexibility and speed of thinking, ability of comparison and dialogue, continuous in itinere consideration of different existing possibilities of succeeding in the object you fixed.

Now, we will see how we can theoretically discipline the learning by means of the improvisation.

First of all, you have to say that the knowledge arises from a question. A question underlies the process of knowledge, that occurs by means of the improvisation. The question arises because there is an underlying need, a necessity to be satisfied. The question by itself it is no use, if there isn’t the curiosity of the search for an answer. For example, there are people, who are full of doubts, and who don’t waste their time,    according to their points of view, seeking answers to their questions. Therefore, they fix their thoughts on schemes, and they make their thoughts independent from their evolving during the time, with their inevitable changes under multiple points of view. Those people don’t seek answers any more, or they seek them among the old ones, they judge with contempt the thoughts, that are different from their own, only because they are afraid of thinking differently, and they are full  of prejudices. They are people, who live continuously in the past. Those people are not able to improvise at all. Everything in their lives has to be duly programmed, foreseen and calculated. We all know that life could not ever be contained into schemes, but, for those people, every little, inevitable, unexpected variable stirs up a real crisis. For example, we can think about how many people give themselves up to despair or curse, whenever they get a puncture in their tyres, or something breaks, or they have an accident, or they are not able to keep under control someone or a situation, and so on. Then, those people - and they are a lot -  become dangerous, because, when they don’t understand and they misunderstand, they are the first to attack and to do harm to their neighbours, only because they are afraid of being in danger.

Children have the inborn ability to improvise. To reach the knowledge, they use an improvisational type of method. The curiosity of learning, underlying their research trip, is the mainspring, that arouses the improvisation, which, at the end of such a journey, leads to the very knowledge. Since childhood, to maintain and cultivate such ability of improvising would help the human individual to face the problems in a creative way, without excessively worrying about the negative consequences, that the problems themselves could cause, but he/she could mainly worry about how to solve the problems, so that there could always be only positive consequences.

In short, we need to worry about solving problems, without wasting time thinking of the still possible negative consequences of an occurred problem. Actually, the thought of “what could happen, if ...” is the cause of chronic anxiety, which does nothing but maintain a vicious circle of general inability to face the problem itself. When there are problems, we need only to act quickly and well! But we need to know how to act – always. For this reason, there are special practitioners of every profession, who should be always brought up to date responsibly, not only as far as their own professions, but also as for “as the world goes ...”, because an old answer to a new problem can never solve the problem itself, for the temporal proportionality principle of the problem data. Actually, the passage of time constantly changes the answer, because the problem itself changes, as the application field of the problem to the passage of time changes. Therefore, if the problem is not immediately solved, it should be continuously reanalyzed, in order to identify the inevitable changes inside, so that the answer could be a decisive answer, not a false answer, only to pretend that there is no problem anymore. If the answer is old, the problem remains, and if you have only old answers, you will never solve the problems, according to the same temporal proportionality principle of problem data. The following easy example of a problem will also show, what this proportionality principle of problem data is in practice.

A greengrocer has 100 kilos of apples, Piero buys 20 kilos of them, because he wants to make a present to his mother, so that she would make an apple jam. How much jam could Piero’s mother make with 20 kilos of apples? The problem is not easy, because it requires a knowledge of some data, that are not explained in this problem and you’ll need to look for. As a matter of fact, you will not make 20 kilos of jam with 20 kilos of apples. But it is certain that, if Piero takes 15 days to bring the apples to his mother, most of the apples will be surely gone bad before, and you know that with the rotten apples you can’t make a jam. As a consequence, because data changed, the problem will change, too. That’s why it is necessary to have temporal proportionality in the problem data, namely, you need always to understand exactly WHEN for each data, including the ANSWER, because this is a data, too. You need to know WHEN, also in the improvisation, as well as in the programming. You need to fix the exact time, during which the improvisation takes place in order to get to the end, to the result, to the aim, to the discovery, according to the circumstances. For this reason, the improvisation is never fortuitous. It is sufficient to think of the Jazz music, or the Jazz art: in the Jazz there is always  a WHEN.

Unsolved problems, one upon another, are the cause of the general mental inability of the individual to live, a pathology due to the inability of adaptation to life. Individual influences individual, work influences work: this is how a State falls ill. Actually, the State is nothing but we, that is, a lot of brains in the net, so, a State thinks globally.

As you can see in Italy nowadays, a State falls ill with its mental inability to solve problems, with its inability to adapt to the times, with its inability to update, with its inability to generational replacement, to existential confusion, to confusion of roles between sexes.  So, the problems will become more and more, until we won’t be able to solve one of them, because, as you know from mathematics, the problem could NEVER be solved, when the solution of it depends on another one, that is unsolved in turn.

What happens, when there are too many unsolved problems? The answer is easy: you will go mad!

The immediate solution would be to give immediately space to the young, who certainly have a more flexible thinking and a more open mind. We won’t discover the hot water, if we state that in Italy there is a society of gerontocracy, which, more and more with the passage of time, tends to crush the young, not to give them space, to make them sick and to let them die inside before their time, in the name of the seniority principle. It is as if Italy was like big barracks, without any consideration for some basic principles, that should be a foundation of a social culture, in the same way as the seniority principle. However, the seniority principle is not a warrant of experience, which you could also acquire in a lapse of time not necessarily proportional to the increase of age.

These basic principles are: the principle of intelligence, also, in the light of the last discoveries, the emotional intelligence; the principle of professional preparation; the principle of cultural preparation. As a matter of fact, the SCIENCE tells you that the intelligence evolves over the time. According to the SCIENCE, not a kids magazine, the rising generations are getting smarter than the former ones. If you invert the order of the terms in the sentence, in order to better express the sense of what science states, you’ll have that the old generations are becoming LESS INTELLIGENT than the former ones. Therefore, in order to better express what SCIENCE directly states, in line with the thought of Einstein, you can say that I am thirty-five years old and I am more stupid than a thirteen years old  girl, and a man of fifty-seven years old is more stupid than me. So, you can imagine how I am more stupid than a three years old little girl, and how a fifty-seven years old man is more stupid than she. You shouldn’t feel hurt by it. It’s just the life of the MAN over the time.

Obviously, you need to make the necessary exceptions, but also the STATISTICS, that makes the arithmetical means, is a SCIENCE. The young nowadays are super-tech, whereas many adults knows only the word ‘technology’. First of all, technology has helped the global communication, and it has caused the development of the systemic thinking, that is a typically youthful thinking. It doesn’t belong to the present adult world, which didn’t experience in the first person such a cultural revolution. Even many adults are against this revolution, because they consider it negative. But time can’t be stopped, it must be guided, indeed.

Still nowadays you can see that the Italian society enforces exactly the opposite of what the ‘Natural Scientific Law of Man Life over the Time’ states. Where are the young? The young are dying inside, and the fault is not theirs, but of the adult society, of fathers and mothers, who are all pathologically sick, enough to not realize that in doing so they are killing the present and future of their children.

After this long but necessary digression – as it is the improvisation pedagogy, it seems convenient to me, when I am writing, to didactically use the same improvisational method, in order to arrive at some form of knowledge – now you will see how, starting from my intention to discipline learning by means of the improvisation, the same learning has showed itself through the improvisation, by means of examples. At this point, there will be no need to add anything else to explain, how the same improvisation causes a certain learning, leaving the thought at full gallop, and keeping always in mind the aim.

How do you teach the improvisation at School?

You can teach it in every scholastic order and/or grade, arming yourself with canvas and brushes, with plastic materials, with the Orff Instruments, with electronic guitars and keyboards, with dancing-shoes and poles, with loudspeakers, recorders, video-projectors, video-cameras, cameras, special software computers, and with so many other things. And you can teach it by making ART, or at least artistic experimentation.

Not to say that you could teach all the disciplines, considering the improvisation pedagogy.

The temporal scanning of the annual disciplinary programme would go to hell, as longer periods are provided, by which the circle of the competences to be acquired should be closed. The three-month and the four- month periods would go to hell. A didactics made of examinations, registers, and school-reports by the teachers would go to hell.

The culture is not a programme, and every single discipline is indirectly the same, too.

To learn doesn’t mean you know. The knowledge can’t be forgotten, but what you learned could be forgotten, so that it would prove to be never learned.

The human mind shouldn’t be programmed, as it is done today at School, but it should be developed.

People are talking about multi-disciplinarity and about the ability of connecting the learned competences and the disciplines between them. But how can you do that by means of this sectional didactics, which is conceived in disciplinary watertight compartments?

At School, the ability of multi-disciplinary connections has ALWAYS been considered an elevated mental skill. The second-school-leaving examination has ALWAYS taken up the Examining Board, in order to test this ability in the examinees. But all the teachers – and me, too – are in agreement on stating that it is an unusual case to find students who are able to make multi-disciplinary connections. Also because, to tell you the truth, even the teachers are not able to well connect what they know, and, even more serious fact, they are not able to connect between them. Do you believe, with due intellectual honesty, that only students and their lack of study are to blame? I think that a sectional didactics wouldn’t support the development of such an high mental ability, but it would forbid that. You can’t claim that a brain would flourish with the ability of multi-disciplinary connections when you use a didactics, that doesn’t aim at the cultural unity. It is necessary that the didactics would be finalized to the cultural unity, so that this high mental ability could flourish, if you really want that the School brings out MATURE individuals, who would be actually ready to face the hard world of work, who would be able to face such a perilous life, and, above all, who would be adequately aware that, in their lives, their own actions should be locally finalized to their own good, but in a context of a general sense for the social good.

You have to think of the thought of the children, so we will start from them.

Little children jumps from one topic to another with such an ease! When we, as adults, discuss with the children, we are accustomed to hold their thinking into schemes, in order to be to the point -  according to our opinions. Our whole way of thinking the didactics hardly provides digressions over the subject. But digressions are necessary to the understanding of the subject itself. Mental opening is needed. We don’t have to be afraid of letting the thought at full gallop. As we  are teachers, we have to guide this free process of thinking, by keeping the aim of the didactics in mind. Indeed, with such a didactics we are doing nothing but outraging the training individuals.

Unfortunately, today School is ruining us (“The school are used for learning, but to learn you shouldn’t go to school” Absurdity by Fabrizio Fiordiponti)

In the meantime, we should work out our temporal inconsistency, we should come back to the present, go out from the past, in order to project us into the future.

To school also with ART and by means of ART ...

But a WHEN is still needed ...

WHEN could also be a predetermined temporal interval ...

But WHEN, according to my opinion, is now ...


Teacher Maestro Fabrizio Fiordiponti


Bibliography: my own human memor




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