Art of Improvisation Workshop - Large Ensemble

Music for People’s Art of Improvisation workshop is for musicians and vocalists experienced in any musical tradition – classical, jazz, theater, rock, ethnic, avant-garde, etc. All instruments are welcome – acoustic and electric, winds and strings, hand drums and percussion, and homemade innovations. In an energetic, humorous and open-minded environment, discover how to move beyond the limits of musical training while playing at the peak of your technical and expressive ability in your preferred musical style.

We are fundamentally about YOUR music, privately and publicly, and supporting YOU in your musical explorations through sessions where you experience improvisational music using activities, structures and tools designed to benefit you both personally and professionally. Prior experience in improvisation is not necessary, as this workshop is based on the concept that listening and imitation are the most fundamental musical skills. In this approach there are no “wrong notes.” Through a supportive humanistic approach, our intention is to promote authentic music making through creating music “in the moment” and playing through the heart.

The Art of Improvisation workshop is a combination of large group and small group sessions, with plenty of time for jamming with other workshop participants. Each day you have the choice of participating in one of three separate tracks:

  • Leading Lab for developing and practicing group facilitation skills.
  • Vocal Track for exploring vocal expression.
  • Performance Track for deepening your musicianship for music improvisation.

This creative body of work adapts beautifully to those of you working in the areas of health and wellness, music therapy, education, and community building. Free Improvisation opens doors of creativity for both performers and teachers. This workshop will inspire teachers to take Improvisation, one of the National Educational Standards, into their classrooms as well as provide practical skills that can be adapted for many populations for music therapists.


Staff: Mary-Irene-Alison-David

The Art of Improvisation workshop will be led by three members of Music for People’s faculty:

  • Dr. David Rudge – violinist, conductor, SUNY faculty and instructor for SUNY Fredonia’s Improv Collective – will be providing his expertise in improvisation skills, improvising classical music and conducting improvisational music.
  • Mary Knysh, author of Innovative Drum Circles and world-wide presenter of improvisation and facilitation sessions, will offer sessions in music improvisation and percussion facilitation.
  • Dr. Irene Feher, voice teacher at Concordia University and facilitator of improvisation workshops, will offer sessions in singing and vocal expression.

Staff: David Rudge, Terry Beck, Mary Knysh

Joining the staff will be award-winning, dancer/choreographer Terry Beck who has been involved with dance improvisation for over 25 years and currently teaches both Dance Improvisation and Movement for the Stage at SUNY Fredonia AND members from the Music for People training program to present in-depth explorations of MFP improvisation skills.

College Credit and Graduate Credit

Students must register through SUNY and pay the SUNY course fee. Housing Fees and Tickets to be announced!


Located in beautiful Chautauqua County, Fredonia State University of NY is the westernmost campus in the SUNY system. The region is less than an hour from Niagara Falls and is a vacation destination for many interested in arts, culture, and all-season recreation.


  • July 23, 2023
    6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  • July 24, 2023
    9:00 am - 9:00 pm
  • July 25, 2023
    9:00 am - 9:00 pm
  • July 26, 2023
    9:00 am - 9:00 pm
  • July 27, 2023
    9:00 am - 9:00 pm
  • July 28, 2023
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm