5 Ways Musical Improv Can Help Your Play-Style!

Musical Improv, to many, can be a daunting task to face as an improviser. “I have to make a song while keeping a story and playing archetypes?!!! Wha-How-Why?!?” We hear ya, it can be difficult. But, it can also have humungous upside to not only playing Musical based formats, but across your level of skills as an improviser. So here are 5 ways that Musical Improv can help your overall play-style.

1.) Finding the Purpose of Patterns

Songs are very formulaic. Usually consisting of a Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus structure. Learning to create these on the fly, and follow and stick to these patterns increases your awareness in finding them. Whether you’re trying to figure out the perfect structure for a dramatic solo in a Musical format, or trying to find the pattern of a game in a Harold, the more your brain can be shown these patterns, the quicker it picks up on the idea of finding them, connecting with them and finding a purpose for the pattern in the scene.

2.) Dance Like Nobody Is Watching!

In Musical Improv, we focus on what makes musicals so great. The first thing everybody notices is, the spectacle. This can be in the form of scenery, impressive lighting (which we don’t have in Improv), or DANCING!! You focus on shared movements, getting connected with your scene partners and learning how to find the beat, wash, rinse and repeat!

3.) Create Deeper Characters!

In Musical Improv, we often will see a character progress throughout the show. Although this is not always necessary or good for every format, it’s great to learn this skill and expand it. If you can create a character that can be sustained for a 30 minute musical, that grows, shows layers and is entertaining. Your next set of a montage format will be riddled with unique, interesting and engaging characters!

4.) Listen, Listen, Listen!

In every Improv format, it’s important to listen to your scene partners and what’s happening on stage so you can find the perfect place to cut, the perfect moment to do a tag-run etc. In musical improv, that’s telling a story and sometimes through song, you have to always be listening, engaged and ready to collaborate!

5.) Comfort Zones Are Made to Be Broken!

If you feel uncomfortable because you’re not a good singer, it’s fine. Feel like you can’t make up killer rhymes? That’s fine too! Improv is about testing your limits as an artist, expanding your knowledge of tropes and genres, and most importantly, it’s about growing!


If you’re interested in learning more about musical improv, take a look at our 3-Week Intensive starting Saturday May, 13th at The Kick Comedy Theater in Westport! Taught by our own Colin Sandall, Musical Director and former Co-Director of Presto!: A Musical! CLICK HERE to learn more about the class and get enrolled today!