Improv Diaries – Song Stuctures, Inventions and a whole lotta Steve Martin [Case Study Steve Martin]

There is lesson I learnt this week – don’t let Steve Martin get into your head before an improv lesson! Of course, it is not Steve Martins fault, but the day of Musical Improv lesson was a very Steve Martin based day – i spent a good hour before lesson reading his book and then on my night shift someone on a News Package I edited was also called ironically Steve Martin! I couldn’t get away from him!!! Anyway more about him later and onto this week!

Musical Improv Lesson

This week was all about working on what we have learnt the last two weeks and bringing them together. This was focussing on musical structure and melody – re-visiting the world of solos. I mean I enjoy singing but sometimes doing a solo when there is a lot of techy bits involved is helpful but also intimidating with a lot to think about.

We started off with a few musical warm ups, and a few of them needed a suggestion to start a theme – from reading Steve Martins Book, the first suggestion I thought about for a ring of songs was about a theme that is very vivid in his book – Disneyland and that is where I got the idea from. Every other song warm up that we did with words in it my mind was still fixated on the book so I found it really hard not to use things related to him – but I did, the next warm up I ended up using the theme of magic to create a melody! (And you thought I made this stuff up!)

This week was all about the solo song again – to get us use to singing a structure of a song and introducing a pre-chorus and utilising everything that we have learnt the past two weeks. This is the writing that Phil drew on the board in relation to song structure.


Photo Credit: David

The idea of tonights lesson was to point to the part of the board in which you were going to sing to direct Phil in what he played on the paino. This was so that we got use to doing song structues and focussed on what we were doing without the direction of him.

This was both interesting and skillful to do – because you had to point at to which of the parts you were doing and because your mind was so focussed on doing that you sort of started to forget the chorus and song structure you set up. I was ask to sing a song about being an Apprentice Wizard who was left on their own and felt powerful. I set up a song structuer for the verse and the chorus but because my mind was thinking of too many things (and probably sub conciosly what would Steve Martin do?) I sort of completely forgot all of this going intot the second round.

This weeks lesson was very interesting and it is a lesson that is definintely going to stay with me and i am going to use it as well on the keyboard to try and creat some new and exciting melodies.

Punderstandably Rehearsal

This weeks rehearsal was all about getting ready for the set that we have on Saturday at the Hoopla Pre-Party. This time we are trying out three different games that we haven’t performed to an audience yet and all of them we have sort of created out of rehearsals – they are a bit unique and different. The first one is hen we disable something from one of the Punders and then they have to do a scene – so someone loses their sight, another loses their hearing and another loses the world of speech. It is one of those games that has a crazy concept that can be hard to play but also fun as well.

The next game that we are going to play is a game called Four Corners – this is when different parts of the stage have usually a different genre assigned to it. We have decided to make it an accent one and make each part of the stage a different accent. The other game that we are playing is a very popular game in Improv but we have given it our own spin. There is a game where you are limited as to how many words you can say in a scene – we have knocked one of these out and replaced it with song lyrics instead – this is a lot harder but it means that it makes it fun and different.

I am interested to see how this months show turns out and excited to see what fun it entails!

Case Study: Steve Martin

There was only one case study that I could really use for this week and that was Steve Martin because all i have done this week is had his autobiography in my hand and by the feels of it blocking my improv. Not that it has, i think in some ways he has inpsired me this week because his book is a really great read!

I have always been a fan of Steve Martin because he really is a great wacky comedy genious. He is very good at playing wacky characters and that is what I like about him, I find him very inspiring. I think I have seen everything that he can do and then someone will introduce me to something I didn’t even realise he had done and he will inspire me all over again. When I read the book about Saturday Night Live, it spoke so highly of Steve Martin I then went away and watched every clip I could of him on the show and spent hours watching the way that he presents himself in a sketch. I have lost count of the amount of times i have listened to his stand up on Spotify.

As  an improviser I find him such a great person to watch and look up to as he is very good at comedy as well as music and I find it a great thing to watch someone so talented and realise just what great wacky comedy looks like.

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