Tim, the Improv mentor here.
Someone recently asked me about the improv class that I am teaching. They asked me the one question I’ve been asked many times before…
1. What is improv?
After a short explanation…
2. HOW do you teach it?
And the inevitable follow-up question…
3. Why would someone who isn’t interested in theatre or being funny take an improv class?
Those are legit questions, so I gave the best improvised responses I could…
I can tell you that improv isn’t a music lesson, nor is it a dance lesson, and it certainly isn’t a voice class, and, for the most part, isn’t even acting or theatre training.
The beauty of improv is it’s all of those things. Yes, all of them.
There aren’t any BIG stars of improv or crazy popular shows…besides maybe the ONE show (Whose Line is it Anyway) that most people know (side note, most people don’t even realize what they do on that show IS improv).
With that said, with over 10 years of performing and teaching improv, I can say that my wife and our future kids will have a 100% chance of being involved in improv (and that’s not just because I do it).
Improv is like the vitamins you are supposed to take every day or it’s like eating the healthy food that no one wants to eat. There may not be an immediate result, but the benefits accumulate over time in fascinating ways.
In improv (both teaching and performing) I’m not sending students home with instruments or lessons and there is no apparent tangible growth that can been seen from an outside observer (other than what appears to be some fun theater games).
But in reality, these games and exercises, scenes, techniques, and creative thinking I am teaching your student are skills that will not only GREATLY benefit them but hopefully all their circles of influence the rest of their lives.
Improv is not a glamorous skill, I don’t know if I would even call it a skill; I really think it helps us establish how to interact and communicate better. It teaches teamwork and creative skills.
One example is that I tell students to not think and just act, to just take that step into the unknown scene. In reality, when they do this without thinking, then they have to face the repercussions of what they just did. There aren’t major implications in an improv scene, but in real life, they’ll learn they have to think before they act, and they’ll draw from the subconscious wells of an improv class to creatively solve those real-life problems that nobody can plan.
It’s my goal for all my students to have fun, without a doubt. But it’s also my goal to help you, the parent, mold them into a productive person for our world.
My way just involves ridiculous games and imagining snapshots of a fictional world. We all know that real life is stranger than fiction, anyway.
There’s still time to sign up for our Improv 101 course. Classes are on Saturday at 10am and 11:15am and they’re only an hour long. Registration ends on January 31st.