It has been great fun interviewing Cambridge Impronauts this month and I found some of the answers they gave really interesting. However, one thing that really stood out for me was the answer saying trust the pianist. It is something that we haven’t really spoken about on Improv Corner before but I think that it is a really important point to make when talking about any sort of musical improv.
When you do musical improv and you have a musician helping out the scenes they can play music at any moment- usually this can be to create ambience or even to sort of give you a nudge that there should be a song at this particular point in the scene. As a musician they have probably heard something striking that they feel that you should expand on the make the comedy come to light in the scene. Even if you are not ready to perform something musically take the hint and do it because they have obvious found a beat that they feel will work well with the audience.
Now, there may be times when you disagree with their choices, which can happen to anyone and it is not surprising if it happens time to time but the thing to remember is that the musician is on your side. They are not there to make you look silly, instead they are there to support you. Try and think of the musician as an extended family and a part of your team.
Sometimes, you can end up working with someone who is doing their first ever musical improv show which can be daunting but that is not a bad thing they are probably more nervous then you and will want your support. If this is the case maybe talk before hand about a signal someone off stage can give to point out that this is the time for a song If they don’t feel co fident on making that decision straight away. Improv can be scary experience for everyone not just for the players!