Summer Game Symphony Workshop at SPU

Game Symphony Workshop

Unlocking musical creativity through group improvisation.

August 12-13, 2017 • 10:00am – 5:00pm • Seattle Pacific University

“My ears blossomed, my head exploded, and my creativity soared.”

Announcing the Game Symphony Workshop at SPU, an intensive 2-day workshop culminating in a concert of original works.

Designed for classically-trained musicians age 18 and up, Game Symphony Workshop is a collaborative music experience that generates the skills, confidence, and community to unlock musical creativity.

Facilitators Steve Treseler and Kaley Eaton will lead musicians through a series of activities that introduce the creative practices of experimentation, play, and limitations. Participants will engage in musical adaptations of theater games, Soundpainting, creative prompts, graphic scores, improvisation with drones, collaborative composition, and variations on a theme.


The Game Symphony Workshop is for college music majors (18+), professional musicians, serious amateur players, composers, and educators.

Consider joining us if:

  • you want to improvise or compose, but feel overwhelmed about beginning
  • you’re a wiz at sight-reading, but want to get off the page… without embarrassing yourself
  • you think you’re not creative, and wish you were…
  • you want to connect with a dynamic community of musicians


Many classically-trained musicians have a desire to improvise but are blocked by confusion, fear, and limiting beliefs about creativity. The Game Symphony Workshop breaks through these barriers in a fun and dynamic community environment so that musicians can play off the page, think outside the boundaries, stretch, invent, and collaborate.

Fear and anxiety are the biggest roadblocks to creative music-making, but the right strategies can ease the most profound phobias.

The fears of being put on the spot, making a mistake, embarrassing ourselves, not knowing what to play, and being judged are related to our fear of social rejection. This runs deep in our biology – it activates the same neural alarm system as a physical threat. This is why any type of public speaking or performance can so terrifying even though they’re not actually dangerous.

Actors have been using games to build trust and generate new material for decades, so why shouldn’t musicians and composers join the party?

For new improvisers of all ages, community games and activities solve the anxiety problem in two important ways:

  • Connection: Community-building games align the practice of improvisation with our deep-seated need for social connection and acceptance. When we’re having fun making music with our friends, the fight-or-flight response melts away.
  • Focus: Attainable and novel challenges drive our focus into the present moment. Too little stimulation leads to boredom, and too much challenge evokes anxiety. Choosing the right game or activity can hit the sweet spot of exhilarating, fully-focused flow. Ever wonder why sports, video games, music, crafts, and hobbies can absorb our attention for hours at a time? Research shows this level of focus shuts off the brain’s inner critic. 


“GSW is a mind-blowing improvisation experience… 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, flute and saxophone

“The game removed my usual block of being terrified to make s**t up (is it good?) and I felt really free… I can apply the practices to my other creative pursuits.” – Kendal Seager, violin

“My mind and heart have been opened to new thoughts and ideas. I loved how our little community grew together as we learned to trust each other. An amazing experience.” – Carol Krell, clarinet

We hope you’ll join us in August! To learn more, register, and see the workshop in action, please visit


Free Resources:
About the Facilitators: