Vocal Improv

Imagine this:

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

Know this:

  • 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!


Voice – Body – Movement Workshop w. Kay Bourgine




Explore the links between the body and the voice.

Play with your voice, your creativity and originality!

Expand your ability to listen….to yourself and others.


Circle Singing Friday May 25 from 7-9 pm only ($30). Register here.

Full workshop Friday evening and Saturday May 26 from 11 – 5:30 pm ($100). Register here.

5915 SE Division Street, Portland, OR 97206 (Bothmer Hall)


Kay Bourgine, Franco-American singer-songwriter and vocal coach will lead you to explore the links between your body and voice. Using imagination and physical sensations you will connect your voice, heart and body through simple, fun exercises and games.

In a safe and relaxed environment, you’ll explore the infinite possibilities of the human voice, moving towards a deeper connection with yourself, others and the richness of our voices.

You’ll embark upon a winding path and experiment with different approaches in order to unlock each individual’s creativity.

The workshop is open to all ages and levels (the only prerequisite is a love of music). 

Singer-songwriter, actor, dancer, facilitator and vocal coach, Kay Bourgine grew up in Boston and NY and has lived in Paris, France for many years. She studied with Bobby McFerrin, Rhiannon, Sara Lazarus, Thierry Péala and many others, and has been teaching and facilitating workshops and Circle Songs for more than 7 years.

Kay played the cello, sang in choral groups and studied dance and theater during her childhood. After receiving a degree in French translation from Barnard College, she travelled the world as a dancer, model and actress. Later, she studied jazz voice, harmony, arrangement and composition and began writing songs. She calls her music folk – jazz. For her songs are moments captured, stories told…Kay sings regularly in jazz clubs with her band. 

Circle Singing Friday May 25 from 7-9 pm only ($30). Register here.

Full workshop Friday evening and Saturday May 26 from 11 – 5:30 pm ($100). Register here.

5915 SE Division Street, Portland, OR 97206 (Bothmer Hall)