Jan 24, 2018
Blind from birth, Ken Medema has
always lived in a world of sound. Known and admired internationally
for his improvisation skills, Ken outlines the steps to teaching
your choir students how to improvise, unlocking both their voice
and their courage. As a bonus, Ken also writes an impromptu country
song about Ryan’s new bride, Amanda!
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Highlight to Tweet: “My program to win friends through
rock&roll wasn’t that successful. I started with 1 friend and
graduated with 2.” -Ken Medema
“Daring in one area usually
leads to daring in another.” -Ken Medema
Medema has been blind from birth. High school choir was a
revelation for him; a class based on sound instead of sight. He
pursued his love of music through college and into a music therapy
career before turning to composition and performance.
goals for choir experiences: build community; explore new things
(improvisation); introduce new music
time you speak, you are improvising. You simply
with a melody
in some harmony
- Introduce some simple call and response
phrases, building each time.
- Return to main tune.
a phrase too long for a singer to echo; encourage them to respond
with something similar.
encouraging a singer to improvise, kneel in front of them instead
of standing over them. This “servant posture” is more welcoming and
- Benefits of improvisation:
- Students get to hear their own voice, and the
voices of their comrades.
realize the ability to MAKE music, not just reproduce someone
- People gain courage, not just in the musical
realm, but elsewhere.
Ken Medema has been singing and
composing since 1973.
music encompasses solo recordings, improvisation, personal songs
for individuals, and tons of choral pieces.
Blind from birth, he seeks to offer perspective
for the voiceless. the choir room was where he first found his home
and freedom to be himself.
- Choir Nation group on Facebook - Going to TMEA? Meet up with
other Choir Ninjas! Join the Choir Nation Facebook group for time
- Email Patreon - Support the podcast!
Sight Reading Factory (Use
promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student
My Music Folders (Use promo
code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or
best pricing - usually reserved
for bulk purchases only!)