The Art of Improvisation - July 31 - August 5, 2016

The Art of Improvisation

Music for People's popular Art of Improvisation workshop is held on the campus of SUNY – Fredonia each August, which can be taken as a graduate course through the School of Music. About 100 improvisers attend from all over the US, representing virtually all levels of experience and styles of music.

Music for People

Music for Peoplefounded by cellist David Darling and flautist Bonnie Insull in 1986, is dedicated to re-vitalizing your music-making and promoting music as a means of self-expression. Music for People is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote a humanistic approach to the way music is taught, performed, and appreciated.

Music for People was founded to fulfill a key element missing in the training of many music students, and especially to call back to music those former students who were lost along the way, when their music schooling became too filled with criticism and harshly communicated judgment. With profound respect for the creative impulse in everyone, Music for People also strives to act as a catalyst in gathering people together to play and sing by creating safe environments in which they can explore music improvisation. To this end, the organization offers music improvisation workshops throughout the year, as well as a four-year program called the Musicianship and Leadership Program (MLP).

Mary Knysh is the founder of Rhythmic Connections, an innovative company advancing education, health, and creative development through drum circles and music improvisation. Mary is a cutting edge workshop facilitator, trainer and consultant who uses music as a means for personal and organizational transformation through creativity, leadership and non‐verbal communications. She is a professional musician, recording artist, and author. An international teacher/trainer with the Music for People organization, Mary is also an Orff Schulwerk clinician and teaching artist for the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, Young Audiences of NJ, and New York BOCES. Mary travels throughout the United States, Europe and Asia offering drum circle facilitator trainings, performances, and workshops.


David Rudge, involved with Music for People since its inception, teaches Free Improvisation in the School of Music at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he leads the Improv. Collective, a performing ensemble dedicated to free improvisation. As an improvising violinist, he has performed with Paul Winter, Paul Horn, Arthur Hull, Don Campbell and David Darling and has taught improvisation internationally, ranging from conservatories in Europe to fiddle camps in America. He is a Teacher Trainer for Music for People, as well as a member of its Board of Directors. As Director of Orchestras and Opera at SUNY Fredonia, Dr. Rudge has conducted symphony orchestras and operas in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South and Central America to critical acclaim.

"Always be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else."
– Judy Garland