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About Improv Blog and Resources

How to Improvise a Song Part 3

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

Now you have channelled the theme of your song through your ‘Ticky Blood Pumper’ it’s time to express the feeling with words, and the place to find those wo

rds is in the ramshackle local library I call the ‘mind box’ but you probably call the Brain.

I don’t have the time to make it rhyme!

That was a Psychologically correct view of the Brain. It is in this massive walnut that we store more than half a million words, and ten percent of them are rude!

But how do we find the right words to express what the heart is asking of us? And how on earth do we make them rhyme?

The Windmills of your Mind.

Like any skill, it takes time to train the brain to do things effortlessly. Think of the brain as a stubborn Cat. Ever tried teaching a cat to sit or beg? It will most likely just hiss at you and jump out of the nearest window. Cats are narcissistic, selfish little *$%@!&*’s but your brain really wants to help you, it’s just worried it might let you down.

Here is an M.R.I scan of my own Inner Critic.

Notice the folded arms and judging demeanour. His name is Sid and it’s his job to run around the ‘Mind Library’ and fetch me things.

But Sid doesn’t like me very much (would you like the person who never lets you sleep, even when they are sleeping?) Just as with anyone locked into a job they hate, they start to resent it and believe their ‘Boss’ doesn’t know what they are doing.

They tut, moan and undermine you at every opportunity, sending a feeling of fear and worthlessness back to the Heart where it is translated into ‘I have nothing! I can’t think of anything! I’m calling an Uber! e.t.c.

What if we make it easy for Sid? We start to let him have more responsibility, give him a promotion and paid Holidays.

Verse and Chorus.

Ok – You have to improvise a song about Biscuits. In your heart you’ve decided that it will be a song about how your partner left you for someone with Chocolate covered Digestives (loss, nostalgia, longing) – You tell your Sid to go off and collect, words, ideas and sentences for the ‘story of the song’ (All songs have stories in their verses)

Tell Sid, “It’s up to you Buddy, bring back whatever you like and don’t worry about it rhyming. I’m counting on you, I know you can do it!”

Sid just stands there for a moment, not sure if you are serious or not.

“I thought you wanted to create art, something perfect, something ‘you’ are not capable of!” he says, firing arrows of self-doubt at you.

“No!” You reply with a twinkle in your eye, “Just get me a simple story “F**k art! Go! Go! Go!

Now be amazed as Sid runs off down the isles grabbing randomly at ideas, laughing maniacally, certain you will fail. He collects a few non-rhyming paragraphs about the night you came home to find a trail of crumbs leading up to the bedroom and as you open the door, there is your rival, pushing chocolate biscuits into your lovers mouth as they moan with delight.

Meanwhile, you have enlisted the help of ‘Bard’ for the Chorus of your song

This is Bard, the poetry dog. He’s not very bright, but he can whip up simple rhymes in seconds. He lives in the Thyroid Gland at the base of your skull, and little known to Sid, you have installed a dog-flap into the Brain.

Bard loves you because he is simple. He chases his own tail, barks at walls and can often be chewing bits of himself you could never hope to reach!

Same, Same, Different, Same!

This is what Bard chants to himself as he slips through the Dog-flap and bolts off down the isles looking for juicy words for your Chorus.

When you start to improvise songs I suggest you keep it really simple, just like Bard, and a very simple Chorus you can do is – Same, Same, Different, Same.

Bard returns triumphant with a Chorus between his teeth. He drops it in front of you and waits for you reaction.

If only I had risked it,

If only I had risked it,

and tried a chocolate biscuit,

If only I had risked it.

Stupidly simple I know, but if you Sell it Baby! From the Heart the audience will go Jacobs Cream Crackers!

Put that Chorus after Sid’s non-rhyming story and you have a song. (Just be sure to put Bard the Poetry Dog back into his thyroid kennel before Sid returns)

You can then try experimenting with other simple rhyming schemes. Our example rhyming pattern – Same, Same, Different Same can be translated as:


So how about: ABAB or ABCA or any other pattern you can think of.

As you practice you will start to find that Sid has been listening to your Chorus’s, astounded at how simple but brilliant they are and wonders where you got them from?

He will then start to return with rhymes for the verses as well – He may not like you but he doesn’t want to loose his job!

Next Post – And Breathe!


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