Postponed (Saturday & Sunday Apr 17 & 18th 2014 from 13:00-17:00)

Improvisation as a Tool in Music-Making – Workshop led by Shasta Ellenbogen

In this workshop we will spend two afternoons exploring Improvisation as a tool for achieving further mental and physical ease in playing an instrument. All too often the weight of our own expectations stunts our real, physical ability to express what we want to. And all too often, what we are told to practice makes things worse. By exploring improvisation, we can let go of the pressure to perform, and become better aware of the already-existing relationship between our instruments and our bodies.

This workshop is designed for moderate to advanced instrumentalists who are curious about improvisation as a tool to relax and liberate the technical demands of playing an instrument. On the first day, we will do group improvisations with and without instruments, and we will also discuss the broader connotations of improvisation as a concept; what does improvising mean as a state of consciousness? When, in our everyday lives, are we doing it already? What are the advantages and disadvantages of it? And how can I use it to become better at my instrument?

On the second day, we will focus on the more specific physical and psychological complaints of each instrumentalist, and using improvisation, come up with different exercises to identify and ease their relationship with the roots of each of the problems.

Fee: 50 euros ( limited to 10 people ) Please pre-register by email:

What to bring: You and your instrument, comfortable flexible clothes, and a warm pair of socks!

Shasta Ellenbogen is a classical viola player from Ottawa, Canada. At 19 years old, she dropped out of the Guildhall School of Music in London when their high-pressure tactics became too much for her. She’s since taken a more auto-didactic approach to learning. Shasta enjoys a successful career as a classical soloist and chamber musician, but is also active in the Berlin free-improvisers scene, and loves to play any kind of music she can get her hands on. Shasta credits improvisation as a huge help in her emotional and physical development as a musician and hopes to share what she’s learned with a broader community.