You might be wondering what's this improv stuff all about? Why is KIC not simply a music
program? Why combine improv and music? Let us explain.
It all has to do with play. Studies show that the role of play in our lives is vital -- it provides the time
and space in which creativity begins to emerge and in which we learn to build positive relationships
with the world around us. KIC turns play into a foundational concept within our pedagogy and
Kids in Concert believes that excellence in the arts is predicated, first and foremost, on the healthy
development of the artist. We are not only interested in teaching technique and performance, we are
also interested in providing a space in which students can play their way into confidence, trust and
We use improv as a way of play in our program. The KIC form of improv is founded on respect for
the individual voice and for the spirit of the entire group. That principle nurtures self-expression as
well as collaboration.
For example, one of the most basic improv games we play is called the "Yes! And..."
game. As one
person starts a story, another is asked to continue it by first starting off with an
And..." The game goes on like this with everyone in a circle contributing to the story. It is a simple
but powerful tool that helps us take an open and celebratory posture to those around us. It is a way
of seeing how we all contribute to a work of art.
KIC takes an exercise like this and directly applies it to music. For example, with a string ensemble,
one very basic way to show children how each person can work together to create a song is to have
them individually play a few spontaneous notes in response to the other. Another way we help with
creative expression is we invite them to use their imaginations while playing a piece. When playing
St. Anthony's Chorale, for example, how would they play it if they were pirates? How would they
play it if they were angry, happy or sad? In this way, the music comes alive and it becomes part of
When we are free to play, we lose our sense of judgment. That is when we truly begin to explore, as
artists and as human beings.