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Music Program

The Second City Music Program is dedicated to helping students explore comedy’s unique relationship to music through voice, improvisation, and songwriting.

Music Improv

Music Improv

  • Music Improv 1-6
  • 3 Hours, 8 Weeks

The Second City Music Improv Program is dedicated to helping students explore comedy’s unique relationship to music through voice, improv and songwriting.

Music Improv Auditions

An audition is required for entrance into the Music Improv program. Eligible students will need to have finished a year-long improv program (Improv Levels A-E, Improv for Actors 2 or equivalent) or the Music Improv Fundamentals 1 class. Conservatory students and graduates are also invited to audition. Interested auditioners who have not completed prerequisites at The Second City should first submit their training information via this submission form. The approval to audition will be confirmed by a staff member or else another program will be recommended. Auditioners who have not taken classes with us are also recommended to create a student profile when applying. Check out our Audition Guide for helpful information!

2017 Music Improv Program Audition Dates

October 14
December 9

Music Improv 1

Music is a big part of not only The Second City but in the improv scene as a whole. If an improviser wants to be taken seriously as a performer they have to look and sound competent and comfortable performing an improvised song. Music Improv 1 is for anyone who wants to appear competent singing an improvised song. It is a great class for someone looking to establish a solid foundation of musical skills to improve musical improvisation.

In this class students will learn how to respond to music on stage. Students learn how to build off what is given by the third improviser – the piano. By learning basic song structure, students will begin to embrace potential musical moments in a scene and use what the Music Director is giving to better the scene they’re in.

Students will work on developing their singing voice. Students will also work gain experience working with a musical director. Students will sing with other improvisers and gain experience building an ensemble. Students do a lot of short-form games that include music and/or singing.

Music Improv 1 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. Bring a notebook and clothes in which you can move freely. A sound recording app or device is also recommended. There will be one public performance at the end of the term.

Music Improv 2

Music Improv 2 is for performers who want to further sharpen their musical improv skills. Being able to create an improvised musical with an ensemble is a valuable tool to have as an improviser. Music is a big part of performing and improvisation and there is little opportunity to get musical improv training at this level.

Music Improv 2 focuses on truth and honesty as a fundamental building block. The goal here is to take their voice as a satirical comedian and use music and song as a vehicle of expression. In diving deeper into musical genre, structure, and performance, a student will emerge from this class as a better, well-rounded performer. Music and song have many components. This class takes a deeper dive at elements like choruses, harmonies, etc.

Students will do a lot of work on song structure. Students will build on basic structure and add other elements like rhyming and chorus structures. Students work on montages and full musical narratives in order to work up to improvising a full thirty minute improvised musical. Students also develop solo songs and use more musical techniques to create material.

Music Improv 2 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There will be one public performance at the end of the term. Students will audition again with their class group at the end of the term to continue into Music Improv 3.

Music Improv 3

Music Improv 3 helps you ascertain how to dissect narrative musical theater structures and song types to better pitch and create songs for a Second City-style satirical revue. Music Improv 3 is crucial for students who want to understand how songs operate in theatrical shows, especially Second City-style revues. This class also fortifies the tenets in scenic improv which lends to the development of a more well-rounded performer.

Students in Music Improv 3 learn how to take apart a musical theater show and individual songs to further understand how they function individually and as a whole theatrical piece. Having a greater comprehension for structure allows students to more efficiently and effectively pitch and develop comedic songs. Students also see how comedic songs function satirically as well as in Second City-style revues.

Students study Second City archived shows, sketches, and running orders to see how songs can be satirical and serve a Second City show. Students are familiarized with and perform narrative improvised musicals and longform musicals. Students take the basic building blocks for scenic improvisation and apply it to musical improvisation to see how those elements enhance final performance ready sketch material.

Music Improv 3 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There is one public performance after Music Improv 3.

Music Improv 4

Music Improv 4 is important for students who want to be a successful member in a collaborating ensemble while experiencing what it takes to work together to pitch and develop musical sketch material with a larger theatrical piece in mind. Students expand on their understanding of musical theater song structure by exploring the various musical theater genres so as to think about how to collaborate and build whole theatrical pieces as an ensemble.

Students of Music Improv 4 work on and strengthen creation through collaboration. In this level, students are introduced to elements of being a professional actor by having the instructor assign homework, give notes, and suggest rewrites. Students see how all of these components work together to produce a strong ensemble and a successful Second City-style revue.

Students in Music Improv 4 research and complete listening homework to further explore musical genres and how they can fit in a satirical show. Students then improvise in those styles as a first step in learning how to develop musical sketch material. Students pitch and write musical sketches after which receiving notes and rewriting assignments.

Music Improv 4 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There is one public performance after Music Improv 4.

Music Improv 5

Music Improv 5 is important for students who are ready to demonstrate what they’ve learned throughout the Music Improv Program without the pressure of putting together a full show. Students learn the reward of taking risks and how it can further define their comedic voice. Students take all of the acting lessons acquired to start taking risks to develop material while presenting a workshop experience that will reflect the creation process taken on in Music Improv 6.

Students start approaching the material generation portion of creating a music focused Second City-style revue. Students pitch, write, re-improvise and rewrite comedic songs that could be presented in a satirical show. Students also work with a director for the first time who facilitates the creation of a full piece by providing feedback and direction.

Music Improv 5 has students pitch, write and improvise material with an eye on taking risks so as to hone their individual comedic voices and provide the most effective outlets to express it. Students will ultimately put together a running order to present a single preview showcase.

Music Improv 5 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There is one showcase performance at the end of the term.

Music Improv 6

Music Improv 6 is for students to employ the skills and experiences they’ve learned throughout the Music Improv program – not only in class but in performance as well. Music Improv 6 is a direct correlation to what is done on resident stages at The Second City and the assortment of theatrical projects put on by the theater.

The focus of this class the process of creating a revue-styled sketch show written by and performed by the class themselves. Building on the material created in level 5, this class shifts the focus from material generation to performance.

Working towards a musical sketch comedy revue with a director and musical director, students continue to pitch, write and improvise material for performance. In those performances they will continue to edit, rewrite, and streamline, the basis of the Second City process for creating a revue.

Music Improv 6 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. The class will perform their own original Second City-style revue in a 7-week run, including three previews and four shows.

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Vocal Basics

Vocal Basics

  • Vocal Basics 1-2
  • 3 Hours, 4 Weeks

Vocal Basics 1 & 2

Vocal Basics 1 & 2 are classes for people who would like to be more confident in their singing abilities. The class breaks down vocal technique to help students strengthen their volume, improve their range and flexibility, and help make them into more well-rounded and confident singers. Students learn crucial vocal techniques in these classes. Learning proper basic vocal techniques helps to build and strengthen volume and range, which creates a more confident artist.

Vocal Basics 1 focuses on vocal technique for both singing and speaking. Students also receive a brief introduction to using their voice in improvised song.

In Vocal Basics 2, students continue to focus on the basics learned in Vocal Basics 1. They also work on a musical theatre song, learning with the help of instructor guidance and eventually presenting their song to the class in a master class-style presentation.

In both classes, students learn how to warm up their voice, learn about placement and breathing, and learn how to physicalize and use their voice through different characters. Students also engage in harmony exercises, group vocal jams, and other exercises that help develop ear training and hearing how a student’s particular voice fits into the ensemble. In Vocal Basics 2, students learn a musical theatre song.

Vocal Basics 1 & 2 each meet once a week for three hours over four weeks. No previous singing experience is needed to begin Vocal Basics 1, but students must take the first level in order to take Vocal Basics 2.

These workshops may not be offered every term. If you would like to be informed when a class becomes available, please click here.

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Comedic Songwriting

Comedic Songwriting

Every comedic medium benefits from variety, and music helps add that variety. Whether a student is interested in becoming a full-fledged musical comedian, or just wants to add a song to their stand-up routine, Comedic Songwriting is a good way to learn how to do that.

Comedic Songwriting is for students…

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Writing the Comedic Musical: A Crash Course

Do you love Book of Mormon and Urinetown? Want to try your hand at writing the next Avenue Q or Drowsy Chaperone? Jump into the deep end with this crash course in writing the comedy musical. Learn about the nuts and bolts of theatrical song technique, as well as in…

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Basic Guitar for Improvisers

You will learn how to strum, a handful of chords, how to use a capo, and soon you’ll be able to accompany yourself onstage and off. Whether you want to write songs for your sketch or standup show, or just jam out and improvise, a few major and minor chords…

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You Could "Uke"

Take a 4-week journey exploring the rudiments of playing the ukulele. We will cover tuning, chord vocabulary and applied music theory which will have you breaking out all kinds of tunes in no time! We’ll supply you with an arsenal of strums and easy licks. If you’ve played guitar before,…

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Music Improv

Music Improv Fundamentals 1

Music Improv Fundamentals 1 is for improvisers who would like to start exploring music improv. The ideal student will have some improv training and an interest in learning the basics of music improv. This class is crucial to learning the basics of music improv. It also lays the foundation for…

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Rap 101: Writing and Reciting Rhymes

Explore the process of writing and reciting rhymes, as well as rap’s several styles, for the purpose of using in scenes as well as creating songs.

Rap 101 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term.

This workshop is not offered every term. If you would like to…

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Yes Yes Y'all: A Rap Workshop

An original element of hip-hop, freestyle rapping was used to get the crowd moving and entertained. Today, improvisers are called on to sing, rap, and poeticize on the spot. This class will give you the swagger to freestyle and write your own verses. We will focus on improvising rhymes, developing…

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Private Voice Lessons

Private Lessons

One-On-One Coaching

The Second City Training Center offers individual, customized coaching in a variety of areas including, but not limited to:

Monologue prep
On-camera audition prep
Dialects Accent Coaching

Youth & Teen Coaching
Audition Prep
Monologue Prep

Advanced sketch critique
Screenplay & Sitcom coaching
Sketch Production (Coaching a group through their first production)
Sketch generation & critique…

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The Musical Improv Jam

The Musical Improv Jam

Open to everyone, the musical improv jams occur at various points throughout the year. A Second City Music Director leads participants through fun and challenging short-form musical improv games. Get up and play, meet fellow improvisers and learn new games. On-lookers welcome, too. No registration required.

FREE, 1.5 hours

Every Saturday at…

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