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Ways Into Improvising: 1 Textures and Layers

1 December 2020 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm GMT

Ways Into Improvising course icon

Have you ever felt ‘shackled to the music stand’? Do you fear not knowing how to play naturally with others on your instrument or with your voice? Are you interested in finding new ways of interacting with other musicians?

I will guide you through different starting points introducing you straight away to fun, creative, interactive and ‘play’ful ideas. I too started out terrified of improvising. Now I have found a whole range of inspiring ways to allow you to start playing freely in non-scary, easy and enjoyable ways.

Each of these six stand-alone sessions has loads of ideas for making stuff up without any pressure, one step at a time. Ideal if you are a teacher, performer or amateur; no previous improvising knowledge or experience is needed.

Session 1: Textures and Layers
Session 2: Modes and Melodies
Session 3: Scribble Doodle Dance
Session 4: Play Create
Session 5: Move Lead Follow
Session 6: Explode a Melody

We go at whatever pace you need – we can take it nice and slow, or if you feel like flying along then we can fly! You’ll probably find that we are doing a mixture of both – stepping carefully from time to time and then whizzing along in a way that you might not have anticipated.

As a musical kid myself I was taught to be very frightened of improvising. Many top performers today are especially terrified. And that’s part of my drive and passion to lead these sessions – because I was so stricken with fear myself – well into my 30s. Brought up to just read the notes, I never improvised or memorised anything in my life and feared being asked to ‘just play something’.

When I had the chance to explore and develop my confidence in improvising – step by step – I got the hang of it. Now I know I can just join in with stuff and it’s easy to have fun without worrying.

And… I feel much better about myself as a musician. If you feel scared, or even not able to do this, then maybe this is the right class for you!
I provide a safe space on Zoom for you to find out how easy it is for you to explore and have fun as an individual and with the group. We don’t do Jazz (I don’t have a Jazz background) we just do things that sound great, making up our own rules. I will always be supportive and I will encourage you to go at your own pace, and help you to make your own discoveries.

“Just wanted to share that thanks to you I was able to offer my first ever improv led playing session this morning … I went with the flow, remembering everything I got out of doing your sessions and had the enormous reward of witnessing all the students warm up into the activities and into their authentic selves very visibly…”
Conservatoire Tutor

“I learnt to trust my instincts… opening the options rather than following a very specific route…with very simple and flexible guidelines it is possible to create a piece of music… I learned to look at things from a different perspective … become less fixated in right or wrong!”
Masters Student

“I found out how to be courageous despite not having previous improv experience. How to trust that there are ideas and an imagination inside and to let go enough to not worry about what anyone might think.”
Professional Musician

“Thank you to everyone, and especially Liz as well for creating this amazing, uplifting, and deeply expressive space.”
Young Professional

Practical Information

Who is it for:  Musicians keen to explore their own creativity, teachers, performers, students, amateurs
Tutor: Liz Dilnot Johnson
Number of particpants: up to 6 (minimum 2)
Length of session: 90 minutes
Number of sessions: 6  standalone sessions
Dates and times: Mondays 5pm-6.30pm 7, 14, 21 December 2020 | 11, 18, 25  January 2021
Tuesdays 10.30am-12pm 1, 8, 15 December | 12, 19, 26 January 2021
Cost: £20 per session

What you need to bring:
Bring your instrument, your voice, enough space to move around in, paper/pen, and a sense of adventure

List of all sessions in this series



1 December 2020
10:30 am - 12:00 pm GMT
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Liz Dilnot Johnson
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