This is a very cool semester at my Rec and Ed improv class – for me!
All 5 students have interesting back stories and goals, but one in particular is just a “right place, right time” gift! I’ve been thinking of different ways to structure musical offerings at soon-to-open Pointless Pub (and here’s our Facebook Link). We are talking about music-behind-improv or music-between-improv sets, open mic, jam sessions, a host of possibilities.
I’d been reading about improvised opera, an idea that goes back at least as far as Leonardo daVinci. I learned about the International Society for Improvised Music some years ago, but after putting out some initial feelers, I figured their bar was a lot higher than I could jump. I don’t have an advanced degree in composition or musical performance, I’m just a guy who plays guitar.
A few months ago, Ann Marie brought Bradley Sowash – jazz composer, improviser, all around cool person, and a horse guy – to Ann Arbor First Methodist Church. His down-to-earth style refreshed my interest in (and confidence about! – thanks Bradley) doing larger scale musical improvisations. But even if my own sense of possibilities opened back up, I still had to accept the fact that this is a very high bar, especially for a program just getting off the ground.
And then Peter signed up for my Improv-for-non-Actors class.
Not to stress him out (if he’s reading this), but he’s quite a cool guy for me to run into. He’s a student at the U, he’s part of the Creative Arts Orchestra (which does improvised music), and he’s interested in the connection between improvisation and mental health. That’s been an interest of mine for a long time, most recently after doing an improv session with Kirsten Milliken (PlayDHD) at last summer’s ADDA conference.
I’m still not sure where this is going to go, but a lot of possibilities are opening up.