- Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
- Acoustic instruments
- Rock band instruments
- 5 to 12 years of age
- 13 to 18 years of age
Improvisation game: Four!! and Empty Repeating Canvas
As part of the Education Sector Focus, public school music teacher Doug Friesen shares a few improvisation games his students love to play.
GAME 1: Four!!
After a cue, each participant tries to make short sounds, one at a time, when no one else is playing or singing.
Every time you make a sound, when no one else is, you get a point.
Whenever you make a sound at the same time as someone else you must start back at zero.
Once you have collected four points you yell “FOUR!!” and the piece is over.
Ears wide open!!
See 2:12 in the video below for instructions given by Doug, followed by an example of his students playing the game.
GAME 2: Empty Repeating Canvas
Put two empty 4/4 measures (or just the numbers 1 through 8) with a repeat sign up on the board.
Each persons picks a sound and a moment in these 8 counts to make it.
Repeat your sound in the same spot each time.
Count it in and let the groove settle.
- Add a hand signal that cues a change of sound and/or placement.
— Add changing dynamics.
— Make sounds “more musical” by deciding on a chord or a scale to choose from.
— Extend the number of measures.
— Change the time signature.
— Try adding long notes for part of the group or every other time through.
- Make sounds less musical by adding a soundscape theme.
— Decide together on a nice opening and closing section.
This is heavily inspired by a workshop with Fred Frith in which he introduced my students and I to a composition of his called Screen. It was a photograph with two empty bars of 5/4 sketched on top.
For more games such as these, see the Education Sector Focus co-directed by Doug Friesen and Louise Campbell.Read More +