Written by Sam Hart
Photo from Jennifer Cleland
We began by improvising freely on A minor pentatonic, which – as the starting point for most of our improvisation exercises – is rapidly becoming a scale I cannot help but associate with improvisation and the hope for a great melody, groove or riff to emerge from the subconscious. As we continued to play freely, the composer began to write and draw on a sheet which was projected on a large screen. These images and words would range from straightforward instructions for a certain part of the orchestra to emotive doodles which each person in the orchestra would interpret and express in their own way.
In this experimental process it was very exciting to see how everyone else would react to each instruction, as well as seeing how I personally would react – being that these instructions were to be followed as soon as they were written giving no time to ponder them, only to act. The impressive thing was that through all of this uncertainty and expression of free will, the orchestra was still able to produce coherent music as a tight unit. A few more sessions of this and we may have quite a sight to behold indeed – and to hear!