Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Starting a Group - Hit and Run Musical Improv

We've talked before about how, as a musician, you might think about getting started in impro. Once you're up and running, you'll probably want to consider joining a group and getting some serious stage time. That's how I got started, and I'd wager it's how many improv musicians get going. Mostly I've joined existing, established groups who needed to add a musician to their ranks. Otherwise I've been part of a brand new show/troupe, under someone else's direction.

But... what if you want to put your own show together? From scratch?

LA-based improv actor Stephen Wilder was looking to do just that, back in 2006. Stephen envisaged a group devoted to long-form musicals (a topic near and dear to me :) ), and, rather than waiting for someone to deliver him the right opportunity on a plate, he took the plunge and formed a group himself.

Instead of me telling you all about it, let him do it. Stephen recently collected up his diary of blog entries relating to forming the group and getting it humming along. I found it to be a fascinating read, with a great many observations about group harmony, narrative structure, song mechanics, and the highs and lows of getting a new show off the ground. I recommend starting with the first post and working your way through each of the 27 entries. This won't be the last time I reference the HnR blog from MH.

Stephen's company, Hit and Run: Musical Improv, is one of the better known improv shows out there on the web; when I was getting started with Musical Hotspot, several readers from around the world pointed me towards HnR. Their site is great - it features videos of their performances, from individual songs to full shows, and they have a variety of video podcasts to suit any improv appetite. The most recent blog or video entry at any given time will be in that little widget on the right hand side of Musical Hotspot. It's worth a visit.

The company performs regularly in Denver, and features in many of improv festivals around the US. I'm going to be in Denver at the end of the year, so hopefully I'll get a chance to catch some Hit and Run in person. Stephen - save me a seat!

1 comment:

Steve said...

You bet, I absolutely will. :) Thanks for the shout out!

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