Join us for a two-day improvisation workshop on the campus of Seattle Pacific University.
Last year, our inaugural adult workshop brought together a group of professional musicians, serious amateur players, and educators. Through prompts, games, and experimentation, we crafted a compelling 70 minute set of original music. I’m thrilled to lead the workshop with composer, vocalist, and Seattle Symphony Teaching Artist, Kaley Lane Eaton.
Registration is now open, and we only have room for 20 participants.
GSW is a mind-blowing improvisation experience. I left that weekend having made new friends and feeling so inspired! As a music educator, I was able to take GSW activities into my high school and college classrooms and see big results! I was practically knocking down Steve’s door to find out when the workshop was happening again. This workshop is so beneficial for classical musicians who are fearful of sounding bad and making mistakes during improvisation. My ears blossomed, my head exploded, and my creativity soared.
– Sarah Bost, M.A. Music Ed.
Flute and saxophone
I had the privilege of presenting six improvisation workshops at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho in February. The Lewiston Tribune reported on my “How to Practice Creativity” workshop.
Musicians take part in workshop during Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival
By CHELSEA EMBREE of the Tribune Feb 25, 2017
Saxophonist and educator Steve Treseler of Seattle (background, left) listens to students work on his ideas for improvising jazz during a workshop Friday at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho
MOSCOW – Drew Lyall knew he had to do something.
The 18-year-old from Kimberley, British Columbia, approached the piano at the front of the crowded room in the University of Idaho’s Teaching and Learning Center. He had been instructed to improvise a tune using only the piano’s A notes.
Lyall admitted later that there was “a bit of fear” involved, but he played anyway.
The experiment was part of a Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival workshop on practicing creativity Friday morning. Steve Treseler, a professional saxophonist and teacher at Seattle Pacific University, led the workshop, where he encouraged students to take creative risks and explore new ways of making music.
Lyall was grateful for the experience.
“I’m always keen to jump into a situation like that,” he said. “It’s just a little bit more experience of being in a situation that you aren’t well prepared for. The more often you do that, then the better you are when you’re in situations like that that really matter.”
Treseler focused on three creative practices Friday morning – experimentation, play and limitations.
Artists experiment in much the same way as scientists, learning as much from hypotheses that prove false as those that prove true, Treseler said.
“This might not work, but I’m going to try it anyway,” he said. “Having that kind of mindset is huge.”
Play, he said, refers to a childlike perspective of the task at hand. The goal is not to improve or to be the best.
“The goal of play is to just keep playing,” Treseler said.
Though counterintuitive, Treseler said limitations can inspire creativity. He passed out “creativity menus” to the musician-packed audience, including limitations like Lyall’s to play only one note.
There was one trio that was ready for the challenge. Trombonist Jay Panchal, 16, saxophonist Peter Lee, 16, and drummer Nivedan Kaushal, 17, came forward and promptly put themselves at the mercy of the crowd to pick two limitations from the menu.
The audience implored them to play in constant vibrato and in an 11/4 time meter.
Panchal told Kaushal that they could keep up that tempo if Kaushal could – and the trio from Nanaimo, British Columbia, played.
“That puts you out of your comfort zone,” Treseler said as they finished. “… This is the right kind of experimental mindset.”
Kaushal told the audience he had to “really focus” as he drummed. Afterward, he added that it was “cool” to be able to try anything he wanted.
“It’s one of the fears to get over, actually, just getting up front,” Kaushal said. “Let’s be honest – you’re never going to see anyone here again. Why not completely mess up if it means learning something?”
The trio was most excited, though, when pianist Lyall joined them for another improvisation game. The newly formed quartet played their music in a call-and-response format, with each instrument using only three pitches.
“I really enjoy playing with people I’ve never played with before,” Panchal said. “… Being thrown up there and seeing what happens when you mix different groups together was so cool.”
“The cool thing is it actually works,” Lee added. “It just works out.”
© Copyright 2017 Lewiston Morning Tribune, TPC Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.
Fear and anxiety are the biggest roadblocks to creative music making. The good news is the right strategies can ease the most profound phobias.
(Warning, there are a few swears. And I was a bit over-caffeinated, so I was talking much faster than usual.)
I created a Creativity Triggers for Musicians Facebook group to connect readers and creative musicians all over the world.
Of course, our most important connections are playing music together in real life. The value of a digital community is that we can:
– Connect with musicians across the globe
– Share music
– Ask and answer questions
– Find collaborators
– Share insight and resources
To create and perform great music, we need to connect with other people. Our creative practices are often stuffed into a practice room, isolating us from our peers. If we can break out of that sense of isolation, we can create more and connect with wider audiences.
– Kaley Lane Eaton, composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist
Download a free digital copy of my new book Creativity Triggers for Musicians. See you in the Facebook group.
Download a free digital copy of my new book Creativity Triggers for Musicians.
Creativity isn’t a mysterious or magical gift. It’s a practice.
Creativity Triggers for Musicians will help you express your unused creativity, break through barriers, and create an abundance of original music.
– Eight creative practices that underpin idea generation in any creative discipline.
– Creativity Triggers: frameworks for improvisation that draw from creative practices. These are similar to improv theater games and creative writing prompts.
I had the privilege of recording with drummer extraordinaire Phil Parisot this Spring. The quartet record Lingo is out today on OA2 Records. Listen to clips and order at Amazon or OA2 records. CD release show on December 26th at Tula’s in Seattle.
About the record:
For Seattle-based drummer/composer Phil Parisot, playing music is about coming home. With “Lingo,” he introduces a new quartet comprised of musicians he’s known for 20 years. The result is a dark and atmospheric sound that draws upon an array of influences, including Afro-Cuban, fusion, and symphonic, all molded seamlessly into a cohesive modern jazz package. In addition to presenting a number of original compositions, “Lingo” is enhanced by references to Hugh Masekela, Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, and more. Joining Parisot is Steve Treseler on tenor and soprano saxophone, Dan Kramlich on piano and Fender Rhodes, and Michael Glynn on acoustic bass.
I just released a promo video and new website for the Game Symphony Workshop. Watch classically-trained musicians collaboratively create and perform original music.
The footage comes from an adult workshop at Seattle Pacific University and a workshop with a high school jazz band. Watch the high school students play entertaining creative games to break the ice and build community. Thanks to Karl Benitez for filming the workshops and producing the video.
In related news, I’m performing with the Seattle Soundpainting Ensemble on Thursday 11/10 at the Chapel in Wallingford at 8PM.
Reserve a free digital copy of my forthcoming book Creativity Triggers for Musicians. The practices and strategies will help you unlock and unblock your innate creativity.
This week marks the one year anniversary of the Creative Music Blog! I want to share some exciting plans for the future and reflect on successes from the past year.
Launching this blog last September was part of a larger shift in strategy for how I earn a living as a musician. It also marked a major inflection point in my life. The practice of writing and sharing articles every week has connected me with a worldwide audience and opened doors for new projects and career opportunities.
I had an exhilarating and inspiring weekend with thirteen musicians for the maiden voyage of the Game Symphony Workshop!
The event brought together a diverse group of musicians, including professional orchestral players, band directors, university students, and amateur musicians. The two day workshop at Seattle Pacific University culminated with the premiere of sixteen original pieces. The performance featured an improvised film score, abstract soundscapes, meditative minimalism, musical settings for poetry, solo improvisations, and Soundpainting, a sign language for live composition.