As part of her three day residency, Carla Kihstedt leads an Improvisation Workshop.
Doughnuts, Dumplings and Games
We spend a lot of time - especially in the process of degree-getting - studying how other people do things. We analyze their harmonic and structural choices. We crack of the codes of their motivic development. We admire their efficiency, or their clarity, or their drama, their abandon, or their subtlety.
But while there’s lots to learn from our esteemed predecessors, it’s even more important to spend time exploring your own strange internal musical machinery... Learning to trust what you already know and to access the deep and singular voices you've been developing all your life. Those voices are quick to hide under the mountains of evidence that other people have done it all, and better. To catch them in the act of being unabashed, we have to coax them out with a different kind of invitation... one that says, not that they have to learn how to be civilized and fabulous like X, Y and Z, but that they have nothing to hide.
One way to do that is through games. Games are found, in some variation, in every culture on earth. (As are doughnuts and dumplings.) It’s no coincidence that the word we use for how we engage with both games and music is play. A game is essentially a way of finding expansiveness through limitation... sound familiar? We’ll experiment with a few strategies - some borrowed, some of my own, perhaps some of yours - to invite the most particular/peculiar/compelling parts of your musical self into the clearing. We’ll play.