David Balatero - August 4, 2013

LISTEN TO THIS SESSION!

We can’t improve simply by showing up each week. We have to actively listen, think, and discuss what we do, all the time, and maybe through that we can collectively elevate. I want to get better at improvisation. I want you to get better at improvisation.

I’ve had this thought a lot recently:

Sometimes I listen to a piece at Racer and it blows me away. However, I don’t really feel like that most of the time when I listen. Why is that?

More often then not, I feel like a passive participant in the sessions. Sure, I get up and play, maybe even twice a night. But what do I actively choose to take away from each improvisation? Do I learn from each experience, gain new insights? Do I share these insights with my fellow improvisers? Sometimes. Not all the time.

We can’t improve simply by showing up each week. We have to actively listen, think, and discuss what we do, all the time, and maybe through that we can collectively elevate.

I want to get better at improvisation. I want you to get better at improvisation.

The session (last 1hr30m)

  1. You’ll be forming bands for the night. Keep it manageable, 2-4 people per band.
  2. Come up and write your band down on a sheet so we can track it.
  3. Your band will play together multiple times during the session.
  4. Keep it to around 4 minutes – remember we all have to play multiple times.
  5. After each performance, you’ll discuss the piece with your band – talk about positives and negatives, and ideas for the future.

By talking openly after each piece, you should start to build up more ideas about how to make your pieces successful. Each successive piece you do, should you execute well, should be better than the last. And if it isn’t, you’ll have plenty to talk about!

The curation (first 20m)

Joining me on this session will be Andrew Olmstead (synth) and Brandon Lucia (chango, percussion).

We will be doing a set of improvisations with discussion in between each piece, to demonstrate the iterative process you’ll be going through.

To prepare for this, we’ve done the following:

  1. Already done dozens of improvisations as a group, with full discussions.
  2. Started an email-based listening club, where we take songs/albums and discuss what makes them special. These discussions have fed back into our post-improv discussions, and helped us speak about the music using shared language.
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