Free Play: Improvisation In Life And Art by Stephen NachmanovitchFree Play: Improvisation In Life And Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch

Free Play: Improvisation In Life And Art

byStephen Nachmanovitch

Paperback | May 1, 1991

Pricing and Purchase Info

$17.34 online 
$22.00 list price save 21%
Earn 87 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Free Play is about the inner sources of spontaneous creation. It is about where art in the widest sense comes from. It is about why we create and what we learn when we do. It is about the flow of unhindered creative energy: the joy of making art in all its varied forms.

Free Play is directed toward people in any field who want to contact, honor, and strengthen their own creative powers. It integrates material from a wide variety of sources among the arts, sciences, and spiritual traditions of humanity. Filled with unusual quotes, amusing and illuminating anecdotes, and original metaphors, it reveals how inspiration arises within us, how that inspiration may be blocked, derailed or obscured by certain unavoidable facts of life, and how finally it can be liberated - how we can be liberated - to speak or sing, write or paint, dance or play, with our own authentic voice.

The whole enterprise of improvisation in life and art, of recovering free play and awakening creativity, is about being true to ourselves and our visions. It brings us into direct, active contact with boundless creative energies that we may not even know we had.

Stephen Nachmanovitch is a musician, author, computer artist, and educator. He is an improvisational violinist, and writes and teaches about improvisation, creativity, and systems approaches in many fields of activity
Title:Free Play: Improvisation In Life And ArtFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.6 inPublished:May 1, 1991Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0874776317

ISBN - 13:9780874776317

Appropriate for ages: 14

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 3 out of 5 by from It's okay, hasn't changed my life. I found this book to ramble a bit too much for my tastes, kind of like the author was trying to fill space. A much better book is " Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner.
Date published: 2014-03-23

Read from the Book

Table of Contents Title PageCopyright PageEpigraphAcknowledgementsIntroduction The SourcesInspiration and Time’s FlowThe VehicleThe StreamThe MuseMind at PlayDisappearing The WorkSex and ViolinsPracticeThe Power of LimitsThe Power of MistakesPlaying TogetherForm Unfolding Obstacles and OpeningsChildhood’s EndVicious CirclesThe Judging SpectreSurrenderPatienceRipening The FruitsEros and CreationQualityArt for Life’s SakeHeartbreakthrough NotesBibliographyIllustrationsAbout the AuthorMost Tarcher/Putnam books are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, and educational needs. Special books or book excerpts also can be created to fit specific needs. For details, write Putnam Special Markets 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014  Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. 375 Hudson Street New York, NY 10014 www.penguinputnam.comThe author thanks the following for their permission to reprint from copyrighted works. Constance Crown, for Hands by Rico Lebrun. Walter Gruen, for Musica Solar by Remedios Varo. Ben Berzinsky, for his photograph of a Carlo Bergonzi violin, c. 1770. Grateful thanks to the late Arnold Fawcus of the Trianon Press, Paris, for permission to photograph his magnificent William Blake books. Artist Rights Society, Inc., for Two Children Drawing and Dawn Song by Pablo Picasso. © ARS N.Y./SPADEM. Charles E. Tuttle Co., Tokyo, Japan, for Tomikichiro Tokuriki’s Riding the Bull Home. North Point Press, for excerpt from Wendell Berry’s essay, Poetry and Marriage. For M. C. Escher’s Encounter © 1989 M. C. Escher Heirs/Cordon Art, Baarn, Holland. Excerpts from “Burnt Norton” and “Little Gidding” in Four Quartets, © 1943 by T. S. Eliot and renewed 1971 by Esme Valerie Eliot, . Excerpt from The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life. Introduction by Carl Jung, translated and explained by Richard Wilhelm, . Excerpt from A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, © 1929 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. and renewed 1957 by Leonard Woolf, . Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Nachmanovitch, Stephen. Free play; improvisation in life and art / Stephen Nachmanovitch p. cm. Includes bibliographical references.ISBN: 97814406730851. Creation (Literary, artistic, etc.) 2. Improvisation (Music) I. Title. BH301.C84N-49303 153.3’5-dc2O CIP Copyright © 1990 by Stephen NachmanovitchPaint as you like and die happy.HENRY MILLERAcknowledgmentsThe following are only a few of the many friends and colleagues whose support, criticism, ideas, and other contributions were vital to the creation of this book:

Table of Contents

Free PlayPrologue: A New Flute

The Sources
Inspiration and Time's Flow
The Vehicle
The Stream
The Muse
Mind at Play

The Work
Sex and ViolinsPractice
The Power of Limits
The Power of Mistakes
Playing Together
Form Unfolding

Obstacles and Openings
Childhood's End
Vicious Circles
The Judging Spectre

The Fruits
Eros and Creation
Art for Life's Sake


Editorial Reviews

"Stephen Nachmanovitch has produced a celebration of human uniqueness. What it amounts to is a guide for gettingthe most out of whatever is possible"—Norman Cousins, author of The Anatomy of an Illness"This is an unusually intense, packed, thought-through book on the most difficult subject in the world: mystic creativity. If you wantto be intellectually informed about how people actually craete things, then you should read it at least once."—Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"Would that Free Play found its way into every school, office, hospital, and factory. It is a most exciting book and a most important one."—Yehudi Menuhin, violinist"Nachmanovitch tells it like it is in the most important book on improvisation I've yet seen."—Keith Jarrett, pianist"Free Play is a superb guide for anyone who aspires to create, whatever medium."—New Woman"This book is important not only because it delves into the creative process, but also because Nachmanovitch creates the opportunity for the reader to get in touch with her/his own creative possibilities and abilities."—Harvard Educational Review