"The artist is not a special kind of person, but every person is a special kind of artist."
– Bill Kahn
The Improv. Collective
A cooperative group of individual improvisors.
I founded the Improv. Collective in 2000 on the campus of SUNY Fredonia as a student organization dedicated to self-expression through music improvisation, and to help future educators address the National Standards for teaching Improvisation. It now numbers 30 – 50 students, including some of the most creative students in the School of Music, as well as non-music majors. We are a community of musicians which benefits from the courage of the performance major, skill of the music educator, creativity of the composition major, technology of the sound recording major, nurturing of the music therapist and most of all, from the "beginner's mind" of the non-major. For us there are no wrong notes for we believe, as the African proverb says, "If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance." We present several performances annually and are available for outside engagements. Students and community members are welcome to join.
“Dance first. Think later.
It’s the natural order.”
-- Samuel Beckett
The Improv. Collective was an outgrowth of the “Free Improvisation” course that I began teaching in 1999. This course is an exploration of the art of musical free improvisation. It is taught in a supportive, safe environment of non-judgment, in order to give students the freedom needed to create music spontaneously. In 2009 the Fredonia Dance Improv. class began collaborating with the Improv. Collective, and has done so each year since. This partnership of improvised dance with live improvising musicians is unique in both academic and professional settings.
The Collective has been invited to perform at such venues as the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM), for entire school districts in NY State, and performance spaces in NY City.