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

The Second City Music Improv Program is a five-term program that covers all the areas of musical improv, from short form games to the long form narrative musical, and everything in between. The Music Improv Program helping students explore comedy’s unique relationship to music through improvisation. Every level of the Music Improv Program is taught by two co-teachers: an improv teacher and a music director. Each level has a performance at the end of the term, with the final level culminating in a run of shows.

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 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!

2019 Music Improv Program Audition Dates

August 10, October 12, December 7

Music Improv 1

Commitment – 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.

In Music Improv 1, students learn to hear and respond to the music director, and to commit and embrace the magic of musical improvisation. Through exercises and short-form games, the students start to build up their musical and improvisational skills, as well as beginning to create together musically as an ensemble.

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

Truth – Music Improv 2 focuses on truth and honesty as a fundamental building block of compelling musical comedy. Students will dive deeper into song structure and rhyme as tools of character expression in song, and will learn and perform some basic long form music improv.

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

Choice – In Music Improv 3, students will start to expand their musical and ensemble skills through the use of the long form narrative musical. Students will develop their knowledge of musical theater forms and structures and the skill to choose between them as they build to the creation of the improvised one-act musical.

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

Collaboration – Now that students can perform a long form musical, in Music Improv 4 they will tackle different genres and styles. They will collaborate together to explore existing performance genres, and start to push the boundaries to discover their own voice as an ensemble.

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

Process – Students will take all their knowledge from the past four terms and, guided by their teacher, will create an individual improvised musical form that they will be able to debut during a final run of improvised performances.

Music Improv 5 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.

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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Musical Improv

Music Improv Fundamentals

Music Improv Fundamentals 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 students…

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Musical Long Form

When you think of musical improv, you probably think of dope rhyming skills and short form games. Those are great, but there’s a whole world of possibility open to the musical improviser in the world of long form improvisation.

Musical Long Form will allow the student to experience the triumphs and…

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Hip Hop & Rap

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 is open to students who have completed Improv Level C or equivalent. It meets once a week for three hours over an eight…

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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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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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Let's Start at the Very Beginning

Does sheet music make you cross eyed? Do you wish you could pluck out a melody on the piano, or understand better the language of your music director? This course is for the novice who’d like to make sense of the world of sheet music, feel more empowered to read…

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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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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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Project Broadway: From Musical Improv to Original Musical in 8 Weeks!

Do you love improvising with music and song? Have you ever wanted to try your hand at creating original musicals yourself? Dive into the creation process of an original musical in just 8 weeks based solely on improvisation and strong ensemble work. Learn about the methods and practices for improvising…

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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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Vocal Basics 1

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.

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…

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Vocal Basics 2

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.

Vocal Basics 2 is open to students…

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Individual Vocal Coaching

The greatest tool every performer has and consistently uses is their voice, and yet it is often the last thing we take care of and develop. Whether you are someone who wants to sing every day, or someone who wants to get through an audition; someone who finds themselves losing…

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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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