Welcome to the Songtaneous Blog

ProfileSongtaneous is where spontaneous singing happens. Once a month, singers (and other creative people) gather to share their voices and their selves while making beautiful, complex and fleeting music. I always learn something about singing and myself when I facilitate Songtaneous. In this blog, I'll share what I learn and experience while traveling in the intuitive, joyful, beautiful, expressive, challenging, abstract world of vocal improvisation.

Questions about Songtaneous and me? Here's "more info".

Beauty and the Beast

Posted by on Apr 06 2015 | Songtaneous

Come see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast!

Two Shows
Thursday & Friday – 7 pm
Tickets: $5


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Releasing Overwhelm

Posted by on Mar 23 2015 | Songtaneous

The next several weeks of my life are very full. Having just finished my spring series of workshops (thank you, workshop singers!), I now launch right into the middle school musical, spring semester student performances and numerous performances of my own.

It’s a good full, but it’s a lot.

(And I wonder as I work with my word for the year – release – if I should be taking things off my plate. *smile*)

“Too many choices can overwhelm us and cause us to not choose at all.” – Sheena Iyengar

As I’ve said before, this musician’s life of mine seems to move in waves and cycles, from times when there’s very little going on to times when there are many opportunities and commitments.

So I’ve been making lists and double checking my schedule and trying to work my busy days one day at a time.

And, I am allowing myself to adjust the things I can in my schedule so I can enjoy what I’m doing. (i.e. the next Songtaneous will be in May. *smile*)

In other words, I am releasing the overwhelm. (Or practicing releasing it anyway. *smile*)

I release the idea that the number of items on my schedule determines my mood.

I release doing all the things on my schedule perfectly and will strive to do them well enough.

Like in an improvisation, I release my intention and energy into the world and let them do what they will.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu


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Listening for Instructions

Posted by on Feb 23 2015 | Sarah Sings, Songtaneous

A big part of spontaneous singing is what I call listening for “instructions.” Instructions are those ideas and impulses about what to do or try that you might ignore in other situations.

Consider this, you may be the only person to hear a part that’s “missing” from the piece. By adding your idea, the whole work becomes more relevant to you and to the rest of the singing circle. Or to put it another way …

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
– Martha Graham

Some of you – writers, storytellers and other word lovers – have the gift of language. Music calls up words, phrases, a line from a poem or another song. Give yourself permission to say it. And I encourage you to say it so that we can hear it – that it truly becomes a part of the music we’re making.

Others are drummers or dancers — you want to add rhythmic elements, tap your feet, clap your hands, click your tongues, dance, stomp your feet, wave your arms or wiggle your hips. Don’t be shy; the music needs rhythm and movement.

Then we have you, the songsters, songstresses and melody makers – you hear the melodies and their harmonies. You tend to hear the pieces as songs, you can find the beginning, middle and end of a piece. You can create structures.

Of course, all of us have all of these talents to varying degrees. The distribution of these talents is as unique as each singer in the circle.

The fun part is finding the music that each unique circle (ensemble, band, etc.) can create when they bring their portions of these talents together.

I recently got to play an entire evening of improvised music with some very fine musicians (Riotus N featuring Anthony Cox, Davu Seru and John Penny). My cohorts and I experimented with melodic and textural ideas and I tinkered with stories and tales.

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