Prompt 74: Make Sense of Random Words

The random can lead you in interesting directions. If you always do things that make sense to you, you will always follow the paths and patterns of your personal sense of making sense. Sometimes, having to deal with the unexpected is what it takes to teach us something new to us.

With that in mind, consider the following list of random words:

  • raised spirit authorize offset
  • boot progressive reference grateful
  • ice nose comic loaf
  • stopped worth break specialty
  • interference dream water position
  • bank pincer boutique definition
  • strangest jamming obey wash
  • rider fresh attraction invasion
  • curtain immigrant committee box
  • metal make sample fever
  • pier begin tool sunshine
  • wardrobe typewriter chocolate sunset


Prompt 73: Sing a voicemail.


Ring ring! Calling all SSS members! This week we’re going to switch up the format a little bit.

Most of our prompts ask you to share a little song on the Internet. Which is fun. But this week, let’s get personal. Let’s leave *singing voicemails* for one another. A sort of improvised phone tree, if you will.
Here’s how it’ll work:

  • 0) Make sure to join the SSS group on Facebook.
  • 1) Leave a comment on the thread for this week’s prompt, saying you’re willing to receive a voicemail.
  • 2) Ask another member for their number in a private message.
  • 3) Call them and sing a voicemail. (Be mindful of time zone. If they pick up, introduce yourself. Then call back to leave your song.)
  • 4) Tell us about your experience, both giving and receiving voicemails, on the Facebook group.


Prompt 72: Sing for a kid.

Last fall, we asked you to sing a song from your childhood. With summer bursting around us, and with a national Children’s Day on Sunday, it’s time to revisit the world of childhood again.  maxresdefault-1

But now, rather than turning to your memory vault, we want you to sing for an actual child. Your job is simple:

1) Pick a kid. (Could be your own progeny; a niece, nephew, cousin or grandchild; a special kid in your neighborhood or school; or even a perfect stranger, as long as they’re under the age of 12.)
2) Sing a song. (This could be as simple as an a cappella rendition of a song the child likes to sing. It could be a looped arrangement of a song for the kid, new or old. Or it could be a totally spontaneous composition, (more…)

Prompt 71: “Don’t Feel That Way”

Singers! Musicians! What are our jobs? We whose art is the shaping of sounds and silences into experiences that others can apprehend, what do we do it for? What is its purpose?

Heavy stuff. Opens up a lot of debate. But I refer you to a few Wikipedia quotes to back up a premise that has some Truth for your correspondent:

  • “Since ancient times, it has been thought that music has the ability to affect our emotions, intellect, and psychology; it can assuage our loneliness or incite our passions.” (source)
  • “The study of music and emotion is a branch of music psychology that seeks to understand the psychological relationship between human affect and music.” (source)
  • “…music seems to reach to the very core of what it means to be human… music might get its emotive power through its ability to mimic people and perhaps its ability to entice us lies in music’s ability to set up an expectation and then violate it.” (source)

Might it be true that we make music to make others feel something? (more…)

Prompt 70: Haiku

Maybe you’re not like the present author—it’s Amado, this week, by the way; Jascha sends his love, as always—in that words come easy for you. Some people have developed their improvisational ability with language such that they can tell a cohesive and compelling story on-demand. Or even freestyle rap, rhymes and flow and everything.

For those of you like me, not so much.

But there’s a crutch, or a gateway, and maybe it will work for you as it has for me. Sure, there’s no “planning” in improvisation, but what if you were to bring some words with you as you sat down to improvise, and used them like we’ve used images before: as a point of departure, a source of inspiration.

Take haiku, for example. (more…)

Prompt 69: Constancy Amongst Change

differentThings change. That’s it; that’s the rule. Bare sticks turn to budding trees, buds turn to leaves, leaves turn colors. Skies change from blue to grey to blue again. Teenagers experience dramatic changes to their bodies, but as we continue to age the changes to our bodies never really stop. Even the rivers change in their courses, if we could but slow down enough to watch.

And yet, even as some things change, there are others that will remain the same. Or, if they’re the mutable type, they at least can remain constant in the face of upheavals. For as long as we live, the sun will rise in the morning, and the moon will hang in the sky. If we nurture them, friendships can last through seemingly impossible circumstances.

This week, let’s make a musical metaphor for this phenomenon.

Your Prompt: Sing something that has obvious changes throughout, but that periodically comes back to something that remains relatively constant. You may do this “in series,” such as if you were to do a solo vocal line and alternate between the evolving and the constant. Or you may do it “in parallel,” such as if you do loops or layers. Anything that gets across the contrast between that which changes and that which stays the same. (more…)