Monday, Monday => Ruby Tuesday => Easy Like Sunday Morning, etc., but I usually can't think of the tune. Too bad for me. I have to jump in and sing it like I mean it anyway. So I do. Which brings me, finally, to some kind of point. It turns out that, with the proper motivation, I can force myself to do things I always thought I couldn't do. I've started to apply that logic to my own classes - I think I can't do [choose from any number of things], but when I imagine that I'm teaching that particular thing, I can force myself to up my game and do it. Maybe not spectacularly, but better than I've done previously.Maybe that's not the motivation that works for you, but there's a good chance there's something that could get you to push past your "limits," in improv and in life. Try and find out what works for you, and then use it to your advantage. After all, the so-called "limits" are really all just self-imposed mental constructs. And since we made them, we can un-make them. Naturally, H2G improv classes can help. With the bravery and commitment, I mean. Not with the singing. You're on your own with the singing.By Sonnjea Blackwell" />
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by Darren Held

There’s an improv exercise called Spotlight. The game is very simple: the group forms a circle, one person steps into the center of the circle and belts out a song and, as quickly as possible anyone from the circle taps that singer out and begins singing a different song that was inspired by the previous song. So “Singing in the Rain” could spawn songs about rain, or weather, or songs from musicals or songs by the same singer, etc. Each singer should only be in the circle for at most a few seconds before someone taps them out and starts another, somehow-related song.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with this game.

The game is about commitment, not singing. You sing the song, off-key, mangled words and all, with all the abandon of singing alone in your car. The people in the outer circle sing along or clap or whatever to support the singer. I love that part – the singing along part.

The part I hate is coming up with a song that’s related to the song being sung. As I’m typing this now, I have had probably a hundred song-leading-to-another-song ideas pop into my head. But when I’m hearing a song, it’s practically impossible for me to think of the melody of another song. My brain doesn’t seem to multitask in that way.

But when you teach improv classes, you sometimes have to force yourself to do things that you’re not so good at. When we do Spotlight with the Intro to Improv Comedy class, it often takes a little while for people to get brave and start jumping in. Which means that the ones who are brave could be left in the middle singing for a half hour. So I have to save them, whether I can think of the tune of a song or not. It’s not so hard for me to make the logical connections: Manic Monday => Monday, Monday => Ruby Tuesday => Easy Like Sunday Morning, etc., but I usually can’t think of the tune.

Too bad for me. I have to jump in and sing it like I mean it anyway. So I do.

Which brings me, finally, to some kind of point. It turns out that, with the proper motivation, I can force myself to do things I always thought I couldn’t do. I’ve started to apply that logic to my own classes – I think I can’t do [choose from any number of things], but when I imagine that I’m teaching that particular thing, I can force myself to up my game and do it. Maybe not spectacularly, but better than I’ve done previously.

Maybe that’s not the motivation that works for you, but there’s a good chance there’s something that could get you to push past your “limits,” in improv and in life. Try and find out what works for you, and then use it to your advantage. After all, the so-called “limits” are really all just self-imposed mental constructs. And since we made them, we can un-make them.

Naturally, H2G improv classes can help. With the bravery and commitment, I mean. Not with the singing. You’re on your own with the singing.

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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