Thursday, March 2, 2017

Improv outside of music

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As my readers (and watchers) know, I'm a huge proponent of improvisation.  Being able to create something on the fly and changing things up at will are extremely gratifying skills to have when playing music.

A good improviser can think in the moment and play whatever comes to mind at the time.  A really good improviser can also listen/watch/react to what's going on at the time, like if they're following someone who played a lot of notes, and deciding to be contrasting for the sake of variety.  A great improviser does all that, but also can deal with issues and problems that come up, like a drum falling off the stand during the solo, a bachi breaking, or someone in the audience being a distraction.

But really, those skills don't end there.  If you can be flexible and fluid enough in the middle of a song that's playing on no matter what you do, then you can probably think on your feet when you're setting up for a song or set and something unexpected needs to be dealt with.

Or maybe you planned something with X amount of people at practice and one or more people are't there.  Being a good improviser can help with reacting to less resources than you planned on.

Another great benefit from being good with improv?  Stress relief.  When you're quick on your feet, when you've developed the ability to make things work, you don't freak out as much about things.  Does it mean that you won't get mad at Karol for forgetting to bring the chappa to a gig, or that you won't have to talk to Reginald for putting the shime in the wrong place?  No, but you'll find it doesn't make you as distracted at the time and the show is better for the audience.

Improvisation is a skill that you can use in almost every aspect of your life, but sometimes it's easiest to practice is when you're already creating something - like music!

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