Here is a list of exercises, games and formats I use in musical improv shows and workshops. It’s work in progress and meant for players and musicians to look up how it is played.
A 100 stories like this
This is a warm up exercise, done in a circle. Each sings a verse and between each verse all sing the chorus. The verses have the same melody as the verses. Stick to the rhythm and melody. Next challenge is to rhyme. Further challenge is to react on the player before you. This is how it sounds when I sing it:
C C C C
Em Em Em Em
C C G G
C G C –
Hoedown and Irish drinking song
Famous from the tv show Whose line is it anyway. Many examples in this video. Many tutorials and chords on Google.
This is a warm up exercise, done in a circle. Singing the five syllable word tomatensala over an eight beat melody as in the example. Then ask for another 5 syllable word or phrase and sing that one.
F C C F
Bb F C F
Our love is like
Rhyming exercise, in a circle. One sings towards the next player: “Our love is like an A, la la la la la B”. The next player responds rhyming on A and B: “la la la la la A, la la la la la B”. Then player turns to the next player and sets up the next one. Main goal is to stick to the rhythm. Next goal is to make it rhyme, or sell it as if it rhymes. Third step is to make the content fit.
D A G A
D A G A
Based on Billy Joel’s song, that you can find anywhere. A player gets a word and sings to verses on the melody of the Piano man chorus. Starting with “Sing me a song” addressed to a person fitting the subject. The second line rhymes on the subject. The fourth line ends with the subject. The second verse is free, but lines 2 and 4 rhyme. Example lyrics for the subject “book”:
Sing me a sing dear librarian
And stop giving me that look
I promise that within a month
I will return your book
I haven’t started to read it yet
It’s been a busy day
But by this weekend I will start
And finish it right away
Then comes the la la la la interlude and the next player gets his suggestion.
Hush little baby
Rhyming exercise in a circle. Each player sings two lines, reacting on the one before. You take their object and start with “And if that object la la la” and your second line “Papa’s gonna give you ….” with a new object, rhyming on your first line. So you get lyrics like this:
Hush, little baby don’t say a word
Papa’s gonna buy you a mocking bird
And if that mocking bird don’t sing
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring is brass
Papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass
It sounds like this:
C G G C
This is also a great exercise to practise rhyming on your own, since you can just keep on going.
Da doo ron ron / Da doo rap rap
Rhyming elimination game, based on The Crystal’s song, which you can find anywhere. Start with a one syllable name, like Sam. Players sing the song, one line each, and all have to rhyme on that name. The inbetweens “Da doo ron ron ron da doo ron ron” and “ooh yeah” are sung by the whole group. Start with “I met him on a Monday and his name was Sam.” All sing “Da doo ron ron ron da doo ron ron”. Keep going until one can’t rhyme, or uses a rhyme that’s been used before, so they get eliminated. Then you choose a new name and start with the next day. You can choose to have the three short lines done by three players, or by one, which is a higher challenge. It would sound like this:
Da doo rap rap is the same, but in rap, which is higher energy. Replace “ooh yeah” by “say what?”: