Music Improvisation Workshop | “IMPROVISATION = CONVERSATION”

music-improvisation-workshop

IMPROVISATION = CONVERSATION

Speaking & Thinking In Sounds

…shifting the approach from the narrow field of ‘note/genre based’ improvisation, to the wide universe of ‘sound/conversation based’ exploration!


Who should sign up?

Any age. Any instrument(s). From experienced improvisers to beginners, all are welcome. I’m especially interested in reaching people who are “afraid to fail” in improvisation, so we can break down that barrier.

First and foremost, anyone, at any skill level can participate – together. This workshop will shift the participant’s perspective on what improvisation is. We’ll take it from simply being note/genre focused and transform the player’s approach to being sound/conversation focused. It will greatly broaden who the player can improvise with, how long they can play, and how creative they can be!

SESSION FOCUS
When it comes to improvisation, sometimes people freeze… “what do I play next?”, “I can’t think of any other ‘things’ to play…”, “what if it doesn’t ‘sound good’?”, etc. ad infinitum… This can easily be overcome by shifting the approach from the narrow field of ‘note/genre based’ improvisation, to the wide universe of ‘sound/conversation based’ exploration.

EVERY TIME WE HAVE A CONVERSATION, WE ARE IMPROVISING!
Every single person who uses language is an improviser… So, everyone already possesses the skills required for group-improv.  When you sit down to free-improv with a group of musicians – even if you’ve never played with them before – it should be natural, music is a language.  We’ll work on communication skills in order to have a conversation in sound.

We’ll touch on Avant Garde & Extended Techniques as a dialect of improvisation. We’ll focus on how, much to the surprise of traditional thinking, experimental sounds can be found in nature everywhere. I have heard many of my improvising collaborators play rhythms & textures that I’ve previously experienced in nature &/or surrounding environments. It is coded in our DNA & can’t be escaped, but rather must be acknowledged and embraced. There is naturalism in experimental sound that needs be explored in order to communicate & relay your meaning to the listener.

LISTENING
In each class we’ll take time to listen to examples of different approaches to improvisation that correlate to the session’s focus.

EXPERIMENT
By the very nature of the word/process, you must be open to failure. You must be willing to “play a wrong note” or “try a sound/technique you’ve never played before”. That’s what an experiment is: you have an educated guess about what outcome may happen, but you can’t know for sure until the experiment is performed & data collected. – Try a new sound or technique, listen… did it work? No? Alter the experiment & try again… still No?  Then, it’s probably safe to move on to a new sound-experiment. OR Yes? Great!! Keep exploring it, what else can you create from that experiment, and where will it lead you?”


“BCG… who in the scootin’-fruidy is this guy?!…” 

BC Grimm is active professionally as a teacher, composer, improviser, performer, sound designer, electronic musician, & multi-instrumentalist on cello, bass guitar, & Chinese String strings (古琴 guqin, 古筝 guzheng, 琵琶 pipa, 二胡 erhu, 高胡 gaohu).  A frequent collaborator in Madison’s avant-garde music scene, BCG is also passionate about exploring music traditions from around the world.  After earning a Bachelor of Music Composition with honors from Butler University, he has found a niche composing, performing, and recording scores for dance, theatre, & film.

“ … compositions are both classical and experimental, both disciplined and exploratory.”
– Isthmus, The Daily Page (June 2012, ‘Redolent Spires’ album review)

“Madison-based multi-instrumentalist Brian Grimm specializes in playing the guqin and guzheng, Chinese zithers that sometimes run as large as a small canoe. He’s also a classically trained cellist and, under the name Brain Grimmer, produces adept and twisted instrumental hip-hop. In performances with Julian Lynch’s band and various jazz and improvisational groups around town, Grimm draws on both formal music studies and avant-garde extremes.”
Arts Extract Podcast, Scott Gordon (June 2014, ‘The Ideating Knell’ album review)