Every time I watch Whose Line Is It Anyway I get inspiration for improv games that a band could do. But then I get distracted. I just finished watching two episodes, and I was about to go practice the piano. But instead, I’ll write some down. I don’t know how many of these will actually make interesting games. I’m trying to make an interesting game—not too hard, not too easy—and work on important and unique skills for improvisation. Thanks to Mark’s guide to Whose Line Is It Anyway? for a list of the games they play for inspiration.
- Duet/Trio: improvise a song where exactly two/three people are playing at any time. (Inspired by Stand,Sit,Lie)
- Telephone: player 1 plays a melody of decent length, then player 2 attempts to repeat it, then player 3 attempts to repeat player 2’s (including errors if player 2 made any), etc. Converge on a fixed point, and then improvise a song based on the fixed point. If there is a drummer present, just have him keep a groove going.
- Chordinate: On each quarter beat, each musician plays one note to make an interesting series of chords.
- Chordinate variation: Player 1 plays and holds a note, player 2 plays and holds a different note, etc. until it gets back to player 1 who changes his note. This one can incorporate rhythmic variation if it gets boring.
- Sonata: Improvise a song in sonata form: AABA’ where A is in the dominant key of A’.
- Challenge: pick a player to be the champion. Each musician takes turns (inside a groove) doing stylistic solos to the champion, who must respond with a response to the call. (Inspired by Bartender)
- Funkadelic: Pick a player to be the leader. This player does not play an instrument; instead, the rest of the players get in a groove and modify it based on the leader’s suggestions. (Inspired by Director, and of course Parliament Funkadelic)
- Air Guitar: Pick a player to be the leader. This player does not play an instrument; instead, he looks at the other players in turn and pretends to play their instrument. The player who is being looked at must play what the leader is imitating. (Inspired by Foreign Film Dub)
- Fusion: Pick songs from two distinct genres and blend them together in a musical way.
That should be enough for now.