Vocal Improvisation Course - Spring 2022

A six-week journey to help singers express themselves fully and freely in front of others – through the magic of vocal improvisation.

  • Join your voice with other singers to improvise a cappella music
  • Break free from nerves and inhibitions
  • Expand your musical ‘palette’ with new tools and skills

On Saturdays 5th March – 9th of April 2022
10:00 – 13:00 except on 9th April: 10:00 – 17:00

Maximum 12 students

In-person in Bristol
24 Gibson Road BS6 5SJ

Let your voice fly free

Would you love to be more free, confident and expressive when you sing?

If you’re a singer who’s drawn to improvisation or jamming, but tends to hold back in front of others, this course is designed to help you set your voice free.

You could be a shy, bedroom-based songwriter who’s scared to sing in public, or a performing vocalist longing to take risks and ad lib on stage. During this six-week journey, we’ll explore how improvised singing within a safe, supportive group can help you expand the boundaries of your comfort zone, develop trust in your voice and allow more of your own unique expression to be heard.

Join us to explore ways of making spontaneous music together, using our voices as instruments. Equip yourself with the ‘improviser’s toolkit’ of melody, harmony, rhythm and sound. Learn to embrace your own voice and experience singing with more openness and confidence, so you can start sharing your full self-expression in public.

Get your early bird discount

Who’s this course for?

This course is for anyone who’s drawn to improvised singing but struggles at some level to sing freely and spontaneously in front of others.

You might have tried vocal improvisation before, but if not, you’re likely someone whose creativity comes out in one or more of the following ways:

  • You make up tunes in the shower
  • You play with melodies when you’re singing along to the songs you listen to
  • You write songs or other music
  • You improvise on a musical instrument

Maybe you’re someone who struggles with nerves when singing in public. You may be frustrated by the effect of nerves on your voice – the wobbles, tension and loss of control. Or perhaps you’re already comfortable singing in front of others, but feel trapped in ‘sticking to the script’ and can’t quite dare to break free.

Whether your ambition is to improvise on stage or just sing freely in front of friends, you long to let go when sharing music with others.

Our aim is not only to teach you improvisation skills and tools, but to help you experience yourself in a new way: as a more confident, vibrant singer who can share themselves more fully in song.

 

Do I need to know music theory?

Our group will include students from various musical backgrounds, and we want everyone to feel supported and included. You don’t have to have studied music theory or be able to read sheet music to take part, as long as you can make up simple tunes or musical phrases.

All skills will be taught in an accessible way. There will be handouts with notation for those who find sheet music helpful, and alternative resources for those who don’t.

What will I learn and experience?

The course will focus on three main themes:

  • Personal development work
  • Building musical and vocal skills
  • Collaborative Vocal Improvisation – where we’ll explore different ways to improvise as a group and put everything else we’ve learned into practice

 

Collaborative Vocal Improvisation (CVI) is typically made up of looping, interlocking patterns to which you can add harmonies, rhythm, bass and solo – all with the voice. Taking part in CVI is not just a magical experience in itself, but can greatly benefit other areas of your musical life too. It can spark inspiration for songwriting as well as teaching you how to collaborate with band members or musicians on a deeper level.

Most people associate improvisation with Jazz, but CVI isn’t just for Jazz singers. The music we create together can sound like any contemporary music genre, or none. The only way of knowing exactly what our group improvisations will sound like is to come along and experience them for yourself!

 

Grow in confidence
During the course you’ll work on growing your confidence and freeing yourself from nerves, via:

  • Embodiment exercises – including breathing, meditation and empowering poses
  • A culture of safety, support, curiosity and play
  • Opportunities to practice soloing if you wish
  • Exploring ways to nurture your relationship with yourself and others through your voice

We are limiting our group size to 12 students. This number is enough to give us a rich group sound, while giving you the chance to get to know everyone and keeping sessions personal and intimate.

 

Gain new tools and skills

The course is designed to help you develop your vocal musicianship, become more aware of your ‘go-to’ sounds and discover ways to move beyond them. This will give you more options when you’re improvising. You’ll learn and practise:

  • Foundational skills for Collaborative Vocal Improvisation (what needs to be in place for the music to emerge and flow)
  • A playful approach to making different vocal tones and textures
  • Ways of developing rhythm skills and how to root yourself in a rhythm
  • Creating melodies and ways to progress them
  • How to harmonically complement a melody
  • Adding tension notes to create harmonically rich melodies
  • How to improvise with words and syllables
  • How to value mistakes and use them for improvisation
  • How to use silence as a creative tool to train your inner ear and imaginative power

To help you carry on nurturing your creative voice after the course is over, you’ll also learn how to set yourself up with a nourishing practice routine.

 

On the final Saturday we’re extending the session time to give us a full day together. To celebrate each person’s unique voice and expression, everyone will have a chance to perform in front of the group, or lead a group improvisation.

Price:

£ 295 (with early bird discount until 31st of January 2022)
£ 315 (after 31st of January 2022)

Get your early bird discount

 

Meet your facilitators

Lise Huber aka Lil Maxine
Jazz singer, songwriter and vocal coach

Lise is the founder of Sound Your Voice, a Bristol-based vocal studio supporting singers of all levels to develop their vocal technique, improvisation and songwriting. A voice teacher with more than 15 years’ experience, Lise has taught everyone from stage actors to performing artists, as well as beginners who think they can’t sing!

Lise records and performs with her Nu Jazz band under the stage name of Lil Maxine. She has collaborated with various renowned artists in the fields of Jazz, World and Theatre.

Since 2019 Lise has trained with world-class vocal coaches at the Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA). She is certified as a singer and music teacher in Jazz and Contemporary Music, and also studied Music and Movement Education/Rhythmics at Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts.


“Brilliant, magnificent, sensitive and highly competent in the way Lise brings out the best in me as a singer and performer!“ Jakob Beubler, singer and actor

Danielle Styles
Singer, vocal improviser and songwriter

Danielle is a creative vocalist who has dedicated herself to the study and practice of Collaborative Vocal Improvisation after falling in love with this artform four years ago. She has taken extended courses in vocal improvisation with Briony Greenhill and Emma Coleman, and trained as a CVI and circlesong facilitator with Guillermo Rozenthuler.

As an improviser, songwriter and piano player, Danielle has been on her own journey to overcome performance anxiety. She now uses the wisdom and empathy she’s gained to support other singers who aspire to find true freedom in their voice.


“I felt entirely safe and held in Danielle’s workshop and I didn’t ever feel exposed or on the spot. Danielle is a wonderful facilitator who created a space that was fun and playful but also tender and open.” Amy Lawrence, singer, songwriter and performing artist

What about Covid?

We recognise that Covid-19 remains a threat to our health. As facilitators we will be taking steps to mitigate the risks, and we will be asking all of our students to support us in this to make our sessions safer for everyone.

You can read our full Covid policy, as well as our Cancellation and Refund Policy, by clicking below.

Covid policy

NB This policy was written in September 2021, in line with Government advice at that time. We’ll be keeping a close eye on any changes to Government rules or guidance so that we can adapt this policy if necessary. If we need to make any changes to the arrangements below we’ll make sure we keep the group well informed.

Everyone who joins our course must first agree to take a lateral flow test before each session (up to 24 hours in advance). We will ask all students at the beginning of each session to confirm that they feel well and have had a negative test result.

If you have a positive test result OR symptoms of Covid-19 you should self-isolate immediately, in line with Government advice, and also let us know ASAP so we can recommend PCR testing to the rest of the group if appropriate.

We ask any student who develops Covid symptoms to get a PCR test. In this case, you should not rejoin us until you’ve received a negative PCR test result or completed the 10-day self-isolation period. Also please consider that even if you don’t have Covid, you may still have a cold or virus that’s contagious – staying at home until you feel better could help everyone else in the group stay healthy in these challenging times.

We’ll be meeting in an indoor space, which we’ll ventilate by opening windows and doors. We will be balancing the need for fresh air with keeping everyone at a comfortable temperature. We will have access to a garden, so it may be possible to do some activities outside, depending on the weather.

 

What happens if local or national restrictions return?

Should the Government decide to reintroduce Covid restrictions that make it impossible for us to meet in person, we would cancel the course.

If these restrictions were announced before the course started, you’d be entitled to a refund of the full course fee.

If these restrictions were announced once the course had started, you’d be entitled to a partial refund to reflect how much of the course had already taken place.

In the unlucky scenario that both of us facilitators (Danielle and Lise) caught Covid and were unable to deliver part of the course, we’d attempt to find alternative dates that worked for everyone. If this was not possible we’d give you a partial refund to reflect how much of the course had already taken place.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Cancellation and refunds

It’s your consumer right to cancel within 14 days of booking your place. If you book more than 14 days before the course starts, and decide to cancel within the 14-day ‘cooling off period’, you will get a full refund of the fee you paid for the course.

If you book less than 14 days before the course starts, and you cancel within the cooling off period but after the course has started, you’ll get a partial refund to reflect the proportion of the course which has already taken place.

Your booking may be officially cancelled via:

  • this online booking system or
  • email: vocalimprov@soundyourvoice.uk

Note that the course fee isn’t transferable.


Organisers’ cancellation

Danielle and Lise are fully committed to delivering this course, but if for any reason we should have to cancel we would either seek to find alternative dates that worked for everyone OR refund you.

If we cancelled before the course had started you would be eligible for a full refund of the course fee.

If we cancelled once the course had started you would be eligible for a refund that reflected the proportion of the course which had already taken place.

 

Ready to free your voice?

If you’re feeling the call to join us, we can’t wait to meet you and your voice! We’re excited to improvise with you, and to hear the song that only you can sing.

Book your place

 

If you have any questions we’d love to connect with you to answer them. You can send us an email at vocalimprov@soundyourvoice.uk