I use improvisation all the time in my singing workshops and lessons because it is through improvisation that we can get comfortable with our voices, and into a state where we can really explore from a place of non-judgmental curiosity. Once we have entered this state we can really tune in and listen both to what sounds are around us and to our own sounds; and down the road we will be better equipped to compare and contrast what we are singing with what we intended to sing – and this is what learning to sing is all about!
The other reason we improvise is because it’s so darn much fun! Lo and Behold we find that our voice is rich, delicious, beautiful! We discover that singing feels really good, and that it’s surprisingly fun to connect with someone else in a way that is vocal, yet non-verbal. And now there is research that shows that our brains actually behave differently when we are improvising.
People are often intimidated by the word, “improvising” – they think it means that they have to know what they’re doing, or that they’ll be put on the spot – a really terrifying thought for non-singers! Ironically, at least the way I use improvising in lessons and workshops, it really means that there is no way to make a mistake! We’re just making it up – there is no right or wrong here! Our job as improvisors is simply to notice, to feel, to listen and to respond in the most intuitive, natural way possible. It’s totally low-key, easy and fun!
And yet it is very powerful because it allows us to be in the music and with our voices in a way that is new and tremendously educational. When a “non-singer” improvises with their voice with only exploration on their mind – they begin to learn singing skills like crazy! More on this next week – do come back!
And if you’re interested in learning more about musical improv opportunities check out Music for People – an extraordinary organization whose motto is, there are “No Wrong Notes!”