WIT to pilot musical improv conservatory in 2024

We’re thrilled to announce that in 2024, WIT will be piloting an exciting new Musical Improv Conservatory.

Its goal is to assemble and cultivate teams of knowledgeable and developing musical improvisers and accompanists/music directors, and to promote their further development—as individuals and ensembles—through coached exploration of longform musical improv, including regular rehearsals and performances.

The conservatory aims to foster DC’s musical improv community by expanding and deepening the talent pool of players doing this work.

Rehearsals will be weekly from January through April 2024, with a minimum of two performances at or near the end of the project.

Auditions will be held on Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 2. The deadline to sign up to try out is 11:59 PM on Sunday, Nov. 26! Early sign-up is highly encouraged.




This is a pilot program, which means we intend to explore and try things out over the initial four months and then assess whether/how to continue the program beyond that point.

More information about the conservatory’s objectives and player responsibilities can be found below:

Overall objectives

  • Develop musical improv skills of players, accompanists & coaches
    • Provide training in musical improv formats and techniques
    • Develop skills in musicality, lyric writing, rhyming, song parody, etc.
  • Provide a common foundation of musical improv formats to allow for:
    • Future team growth and expansion
      • The addition of new teams as the  program expands
    • Coaches and accompanists are empowered to:
      • Collaborate across teams
      • Sub for each other
        • Share knowledge and techniques
  • Cultivate musical improv ensembles
    • Provide structure for teams to develop cohesion
  • Provide musical improv performance opportunities
    • Establish regular show schedules for team performances
  • Showcase musical improv for audiences
    • Continue to develop an audience base for musical improv
    • Provide public performances for the community

Team objectives

  • Develop ensemble musical improv skills
    • Build skills in musical scene work, song improv, etc. as a team
  • Build cohesion as a musical improv ensemble
    • Develop group cohesion,, communication, and trust through rehearsals
  • Select and rehearse a long form musical improv format
    • Focus rehearsals on building skills in the selected format
  • Perform for audiences
    • Showcase team’s musical improv format at scheduled shows

Musical improv player objectives

  • Broaden and strengthen musical improv performance skills individually and as an ensemble
  • Build, explore, and increase proficiency in longform musical improv formats
  • Gain experience working with a musical director and coach to incorporate music seamlessly into improvised scenes and stories
  • Develop and practice healthy ensemble management skills, including maintaining open communication, creating a safe and welcoming environment, and nurturing the group’s unique improvisational voice
  • Expand WIT’s reach by including more artists and musicians from outside the traditional WIT realm, with particular focus of tapping into DC theater culture

Player responsibilities

  • Attend and fully participate in weekly rehearsals and performances as scheduled by accompanist and coach.
  • Take an active role in your development as a musical improviser; seek new ways to expand your skills. This may include regular online viewing assignments and, when possible, live show attendance.
  • Embrace coaching, direction, and feedback; continuously strive to improve.
  • Communicate scheduling conflicts/needs to your coach and team with ample notice.
  • Pay dues on time to cover expenses like coaching, rehearsal space, etc.
  • Assist in promoting the program through word-of-mouth and social media.
  • Raise any issues or concerns promptly and constructively.
  • Be an asset to the team by assisting with logistics, hosting, etc.
  • Have fun making great improvised music together!
November 10, 2023