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Improvisation for the Whole Body?

Why should anyone want to engage their body and voice in improvisation? Some educators believe improvisation increases the ability of your mind to form ideas, and express them in a coherent, relevant manner. It encourages flexibility in thinking, which is key to successful negotiation skills.

Prof Frederic Ullen, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, concluded that there was a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving. [a] But when you try to practice improvisation at work or school, it may be a bit nerve-racking to develop those skills.

In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. In scat singing, the singer improvises melodies and rhythms using the voice as an instrument rather than a speaking medium.[1]

What if you could use scat singing (and no you don't have to be a musician) as a tool for learning to improvise?

Of course there are masters in the art of scat singing. All of Ella Fitzgerald's scat performances of "How High the Moon", for instance, use similar tempo, begin with a chorus of a straight reading of the lyric, move to a "specialty chorus" that introduces the scat chorus, and then you hear the scat itself.[2] "Minnie the Moocher"first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, is a jazz song selling over a million copies.[3]It is most famous for its nonsensical ad libbed ("scat") lyrics (for example, "Hi De Hi De Hi De Hi"). Which became so popular it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

In this activity created by Opera Singer and Teaching Artist Maria Simeone, the Drum Table with Comfort Sound Technology provides both rhythmical foundation and vibrational support, but also serves as a distraction to free your mind for experimenting with vocal scat. Add the movement element and you've got an activity that is an easy way to get your whole body practicing your skills of improvisation... and if you'll let yourself go... a lot of fun in the process! Start with Maria... and then make up your own!

Download the Flexity Jig free lesson plan and activity cards at:

#scat #singing #drumming #improvisation

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