You’re standing in the middle of a circle of adoring people who are hanging on your every gesture. You don’t know what you’re going to sing; you don’t even know what your voice is going to sound like or how long you’ll be there.
There’s the moment of silence.
The anticipation builds, and then … you open your mouth, and music just flows out.
It might be a little halting, at first. You might be a little afraid to trust it, a little worried, because you don’t know what comes next. You’re no longer totally in control of your voice; it seems to take on a flow of its own, and surprisingly, joyfully, you realize that you don’t have to be in control of it. All you have to do is stand there and let the music show up.
That’s vocal improv and it’s one of the most joyful,
transformative experiences you can have.
Is it scary when you first do it? Sometimes. Is it absolutely, 100% worth it? Always.
And what better place to start playing around with improv than the most supportive, friendliest, encouraging choir around?
Come join Sing Portland! for a vocal improv session (also called circle singing) and you’ll learn the building blocks of improvisation, have a totally safe space for vocal play, and get the chance to improv with partners that will love and support whatever you do.
“First you sing one note, and then you sing the next.”
– Bobby McFerrin
- You’re in good hands. I’ve spent years learning improv and circle singing from the best, including Bobby McFerrin, Rhiannon, and Joey Blake, plus I’m also a trained singer, choir director, cellist, drummer, and music therapist, so I’ve got the chops, the experience, and the love to keep you feeling safe and happy as you start playing with your voice.
- You cannot mess this up. Seriously, it’s impossible to do this wrong. As long as you show up, open your mouth, and some form of sound comes out, you’re doing it right.
- You’ve got the full support of a group that is going to be delighted with whatever comes out of your mouth. Generosity is the goal of all vocal improv, so when you step into this room, you’re stepping into a circle of support the likes of which you’ve probably never experienced before.
My teachers: Joey Blake, Bobby McFerrin, Rhiannon
With Bobby McFerrin at Omega Cirlce Songs 2017
Duet with Bobby McFerrin
What to expect in a vocal improv session:
You’ll learn integrative, fun exercises that help you understand the building blocks and vocabulary of improvisation. We’re not just going to throw you up on stage and expect you to start belting it.
Once you’ve got a few basics down (and you’ll pick it up must faster than you’d think), you’ll have lots of choices for starting or contributing to vocal play, you can dive in! Whether you’re taking the lead and starting a circle song of your own, singing an improvised duet, or providing background vocals to another singer, you’ll soon start to notice that you start to grow your improv skills, become a more conscious improviser, and start really being able to let the music flow through you.
Circle singing really has to be experienced to be fully understood –– but once you give it a try, I know you’ll be hooked!
Upcoming chances to improv with us: