From: Steve Ball
Sent: Sunday, May 17, 2015 11:11 PM
To: 'Travis Metcalf'; 'Tony Geballe'; 'Tobin Buttram'; 'Taylor Sherman'; 'Sandra Prow'; 'Rob Taylor-Manning'; 'Paul O'Rear'; 'Meleah Gibson'; 'Mary Beth Abel'; 'Julia Zenteno'; 'Jim Breslin'; 'Jacqueline Binder'; 'Igor Abuladze'; 'Howard Snyder'; 'Greg Meredith'; 'Frank Sheldon'; 'Erin Wigger'; 'Emily Geballe'; 'Diana Garcia'; 'Deborah Gunn'; 'Dean Jensen'; 'David Lavallee'; 'Darlene Franz'; 'Curt Golden'; 'Christina Florkowski'; 'Chris Gibson'; 'Carl Germain'; 'Bob Williams'; 'Bill Van Buren'; 'Bill Rieflin'
Cc: 'Leonardo Requejo'; 'Dev Ray'; 'Patrick Grant'; 'Sandra Bain Cushman'; 'Pablo Mandel'
Subject: Raising the bar: Calisthenics for Improvisation
Greetings Extended Seattle Team -
For anyone who wishes to intensify your personal and group work during this next period, I am re-initiating a recurring Tuesday evening Calisthenics for Improvisation session through the summer, similar to the Saturday morning work I’ve been hosting for the past few years.
TL;DL Exec Summary for Busy Skimmers
Beginning this week through early-September, please RSVP only if you wish to show up Tuesday evening(s) 9pm - 10ish with your guitar for an hour of gently guided group improvisation.
Note: location may vary. See below for details if interested.
With best wishes,
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The Long Version
The aim of this work is as follows:
a) To empirically develop and exercise a shared, known body of improvisation calisthenics so that what we play – even when we don’t know what we’re about to play – is reliably indistinguishable from Music.
This involves intentional work focused on collectively working on one thing at a time, for example: tone, timbre, volume, variations, vamping, leading, following, soloing, key awareness, he and she awareness, comping, copying, chords, clusters, circulation, rotation, integration, patterns, patter, pulse division, polyrhythm, passing, speed, pace, space, silence, slapping, swinging, clapping, tapping, quoting, fading, waiting, whizzing, tinkling, thraking, texturing, talking, and taking turns tweaking what we do together to get out of the way, that we may (more) reliably become one musical instrument, capable of speaking / singing with one voice.
b) To push just into the edge of our personal capacity, and then go just beyond – in a safe, guided and accepting environment.
c) To develop a simple, shared body of named improvisation-based ‘repertoire’ designed so that we are each able to contribute confidently and musically to whatever is unfolding in the moment – regardless of whether this is day one or year forty with the guitar. Mostly, this means practicing feeling the feeling that it is okay to play simply, slowly and gently -- and often not at all. It also means constructing and socializing an intentional set of diverse, improvised ‘repertoire’ that might one day even function reliably in front of an audience. Ideally, the audience will not know or notice which bits were ‘composed’ or which flew by in the moment.
d) To practice harmonizing with each other, in what we do, what we say, and how we listen, work and play together.
e) To continue quietly working on the guitarist inside each of us, together.
Special Historical Note: this is not a café. And it is not a secret. Anyone who wishes to listen or simply sit are also encouraged to show up and be present. And there might occasionally be snacks, slightly unlike other (formerly) secret cafes from past eras.
As always, please observe a “necessary talking only” approach. However, this is not a solemn rehearsal or performance. Rather, in this environment, I encourage an open and easy flow of necessary talking about what, why and how we’re doing together.
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The default location will be my living room -- but I’d like to also encourage voluntary rotation so that we may share and spread the inconvenience of travel evenly for those investing in this work together.
The first session will be this Tuesday, May 19th from 9pm sharp to 10-ish PM (we’ll wrap-up when the work is complete rather than obey an arbitrary clock.) Please be prompt – but we will still love you if you are late, or even absent.
You never ever need to explain or apologize.
Please RSVP so the host has a rough idea of who is coming each week. If no one responds, I’ll simply be practicing happily in my living room, available for anyone who wishes to join me at this time in raising the bar together.
The location for this first week will be at my place (address below), unless Rob or David wish to invite everyone over to Mercer Island? Also, those without vehicles, please reach out and ask for transportation help if your desire to participate exceeds your fear of asking for help.
As usual, please bring stools and/or anything else you need to be comfortable with the inevitable dis-comfort of working together.
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