Sunday, December 2, 2018 11:00-1:00 PM

Admission: $25

NEW ORLEANS CENTER FOR THE CREATIVE ARTS 2800 Chartres Street | New Orleans, LA 70117

Master Class Workshops round out the weekend providing deeper introductions and engagement with improvisation in specific artistic disciplines - jazz, classical, theatre, oral history and multi-arts. The workshops are the perfect opportunity learn from and share experiences with leading practitioners, giving participants a chance to interact and make collective work.

A limited number of fee waivers are available. For more information, please email us at

Take your image of untouchably perfect classical music and smash it on the floor! To be a musician in late 1700s century Europe was much more like being a singer-songwriter today: you played what you created, some of it was written down, but much was spontaneously improvised and embellished. Improvisation duels entertained emperors and well-placed musical embellishments “roused the passions” of listeners by awakening the essence of emotions with a mere few notes. Music was powerful stuff. Sitting down at the keyboard or picking up a violin and playing music conceived on the spot may seem like a mystical act. But like magic tricks, or political oration, there is an underpinning structure that supports the spontaneous creation of musical storytelling: a kind of musical language and grammar based on rhetorical thinking. Explore, experience, and even try your hand (& voice) at the surprising fun (and even funny) art of classical improvisation and rhetoric. In the process, you’ll discover how to listen to music through the ears of a composer or musician. This workshop is for everyone, musicians and non-musicians, connoisseurs and amateurs alike!

Messing with Mozart—The Surprising Art of Classical Improvisation and How To Do It

With Jenna Sherry, Violinist and Artistic Director Birdfoot Festival and Julia Hamos, piano

Musicians/Composers and NOCCA Faculty Khari Allen Lee and Michael Pellera explore ideas of individual and collective creativity in New Orleans and in the traditional music of Her people.

Through sharing live music examples, we explore the ways “Improvisation” evolved out of and in intimate relationship to the fixed forms, modes, and means of music used for life’s purposes (i.e. birth, death, celebration, initiation, mourning, etc.).

Through these grass roots journeys, we will understand and appreciate the higher forms of individual and collective expression (i.e. Improvisation) in the music that has fallen from the Great Tree of New Orleans Culture.

Music - Jazz

with NOCCA Faculty members Khari Allen Lee, Saxophonist/Composer and Michael Pellera, Pianist/Composer

Theater - Longform Improv

with Chris Kaminstein, GOAT IN THE ROAD

Actor, writer and director Chris Kamenstein and members of THE GOAT IN THE ROAD engage on structure, point of view, and playing with genre.

This session is designed for those who want to acquire and hone their skills for an array of audio projects — radio, podcasts, online stories, storytelling, oral histories, audio slideshows, family histories, news, documentaries and other multimedia platforms. In the Workshop, Davia covers interviewing and miking techniques, sound gathering, use of archival audio, field recording techniques, recording equipment, how to make interviewees comfortable, how to frame evocative questions that make for compelling storytelling, how to build a story, and how to listen (which is harder than it looks). We also talk podcasting. Serious talk about getting your podcast going and giving it a real sound. The workshop is customized to fit the projects you are working on. The groups are always lively and good contacts are made.

Kitchen Sisters Interviewing, Recording and Podcasting Workshop

with Davia Nelson of NPR’s KITCHEN SISTERS and Producer of the James Beard Award-winning series, HIDDEN KITCHENS

The art of improvising is fundamental to our mental health, our spiritual well-being, and our capacity for free and spontaneously mindful communication. We all naturally improvise every single day, yet few of us give ourselves credit for being the maestros of creativity that we are. This workshop is open to all participants in the conference, all professions. If you have a musical instrument, please bring it. If you are not a musician, please bring yourself – everyone will be able to participate on an equal basis.

Improvising is Life

with Stephen Nachmanovitch, Musician/Author of FREE PLAY: IMPROV IN LIFE AND ART