Improv Diaries – Music, Learning Lessons and More Music! [Case Study: Zebrahead]

This week I haven’t done any improv, so you are probably wondering why I am writing an article called Improv Diaries when technically it isn’t – well this week I have learnt a few things that technically are transferable skills and i wanted to put it under this name and talk about it.

Before everything though, I want to discuss the Phoenix Remix People’s Choice Awards. Every year, I choose a few acts I feel deserve an extra special interview because of the work they have put into something that year – this time for the first year ever I opened it up for the public to choose a few as well. The first round of short list I had about 100 people max vote for who they wanted to be nominated – then last week when the shortlist came around it went absolutely mental – it got 1000 votes. I was not expecting the amount of people to share it and vote and it was such a shock. It was also an insane amount of stress. The website I used could only hold 1000 votes and I had to shut the polling system down earlier then I wanted – I did not expect this to ever happen and it took me by so much surprise the amount of people that wanted to have their say. I want to say thank you to everyone that voted and apologies it closed earlier then expected but going forward to the final round i have a lot of knowledge now as to what I need to do.  The finalists will be announced later this month.

This week I have focussed a lot on music – i do not remember if I have said it before on here but I am currently taking intermediate guitar lessons – I have been playing for 13 years but I taught myself and wanted to do a lesson to make sure everything I was teaching myself was correct. I have been so happy to find out everything I have taught myself has been correct and even though I know a lot that is being taught, I am also learning a lot along the way as well. I have learnt how to play with my fingers instead of just the plectrum – i have thought a long time how to make that not sound like an innuendo and thats all i have got sorry! – it is something I was always nervous and not sure how to do and now I have learnt the basics I feel super confident. It has also helped me with the keyboard.

I have been playing the keyboard since I was 3 and yet again I have taught myself how to play and I can never get my left had to do movement on the keys that isn’t playing chords. Learning how to play finger patterns on the guitar have made me realise what i need to do on the keyboard and it has made me so happy that I am now being able to develop in both of these areas.

The reason that I want to develop my playing is firstly I adore playing instruments and I love playing music so much – I may adore Improv but Music will always be my number one love. I want to start incorporating it into improv so we can have live music as and when we need it. I can play pretty much any song by ear on keyboard and can play a lot of songs on guitar but I lack confidence playing in public so these lessons are helping.

Also these new skills are helping me think of improv in a another way that I want you to think of the next time you do it  – no matter what you do in life – it is transferable to improv. It can actually make the comedy form more inventive and fun.


Case Study : Zebrahead

zebrahead 1

This week I went and saw Zebrahead perform for the first time in nine years. I first came across the band in university when they were a support band for Bowling For Soup and purchasing their CD after that concert was the best decision I made because they are one of my favourite bands (and through the years of losing Blink-182 I was lost as to what to listen to and this band filled a gigantic hole).

zebrahead 2They are a fantastic band live and seeing them again after nine years it was great to see that even though they may of aged, their shows have got bigger and are still amazing. They really put on a great show for their audience and can really bring both the entertainment and sing live so well. It was funny as much as i was loving their music, I spent a lot of the gig watching Matty play the guitar and was pretty much hypnotised they way that he played songs. I never used to notice this but because I am doing lessons to impove my playing this sort of became a magic to me to see the different ways he played.

This is sort of similar to improv. I love watching shows and seeing how others approach and play games – it can bring inspiration and allow you to look at a game or a style of improv in a different light. I feel this Zebrahead gig this week had a huge impact on me and I can’t wait to see them for the umpteenth time in the future.

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