Bringing Music Home – Hosting Improv Gatherings

In Leading Groups by jan_mfp

Connections featured this article which contained several useful suggestions for getting started hosting your own music gatherings.

  1. Core Group: Start with a core group of 2 or more people who have been to a workshop and understand the process and transformative value of music improvisation for self-expression. Core groups can sometimes be formed during an MfP workshop by finding others from your locale at the workshop. If you want to host gatherings and you don’t know of anyone else in your area, call the MfP office for names of experienced MfP-ers in your area.
  2. Regularity of Gatherings: Set up a regular meeting time. Bi-monthly meetings seem to work well at first. Establishing the same day and time for each meeting seems to help.
  3. Location: Start simple. Your gatherings can be in a home, garage, basement, as well as in a church, college, the local “Y”, or a community center. If possible, start in a place that doesn’t charge rent and where it is safe to make lots of noise. Having enough room for carefree movement will also be a plus. If you can’t find the perfect location, just start with what you’ve got.
  4. Facilitation: Your core group should share facilitation of the sessions. Encourage each other’s facilitation, but do discuss what doesn’t work. Depending on your location, the MfP office may be able to supply names of experienced co-facilitators to attend some of your gatherings.
  5. Instruments: Having instruments that are easy to play and unintimidating (log drums, piano, recorder, gongs) will be a plus at your gatherings. If these are too hard to find, remember that you can have wonderful music gatherings using voice, hands, and feet for your improvisations.
  6. Ensemble Size: Remember that MfP techniques work best in small groups. If there are more than 5 people in your gathering, make sure to break your group into duos, trios, or quartets. This can be done by taking turns playing in front of the whole group, or by dividing the large group into 2’s, 3’s, 4’s or 5’s and going into separate rooms to improvise.
  7. Recording: Recording your improvisations and playing them back is recommended.
  8. New People: Whenever new people come to a gathering, review the basic MfP techniques (One Quality Sound, Solo/Drone, Solo/Ostinato).
  9. Publicity: When your gatherings have established a dependable regularity, assemble a mailing list and make some simple fliers.
  10. Other MfP Members: If there are more MfP-ers in a nearby city, consider traveling up for their sessions or inviting them down to yours.
  11. Collaboration: Look at your group as a cooperative, each person bringing to the gatherings what they can comfortably contribute. One person may have computer expertise, another may supply the refreshments, another may facilitate, one may take charge of the mailing list, one may host the gatherings in the home, one may contribute mailing costs, and so forth. As much as possible, take care of each other in areas such as carpooling, babysitting, etc.