Free Improvisation Workshops with Joe Sorbara

Free Improvisation Workshops with Joe Sorbara

November 12 & 13, 2022

January 14 & 15, 2023

The world of Creative Music is a large and complex one with many moving parts. What all of those parts have in common is that they coalesce in ways that, rather than the faithful recreation of something that has already been fully formed, priority is given to the creation of new music by the performers in performance. In other words: somehow, someway, the music involves improvisation.

In partnership with Silence, drummer, percussionist, and educator Joe Sorbara offers an ongoing series of weekend-long Creative Music Workshops designed to help musicians make music. Each consists of four, three-hour sessions followed by a celebratory performance.

Participants pay $120 for each workshop ($30 for each of four three-hour sessions*

(* if this rate makes a course inaccessible to you, please be in touch about sliding scale rates.)


At present, Free Improvisation I is being offered:

Free Improvisation I

An introductory course in the practice of free improvisation or “instant composition,” Free Improvisation I deals with “making it up as we go” in a considered and critical way that stresses personal expression and responsibility, engaged listening, intentionality, and playful exploration. The course involves a great deal of playing and discussion as well as musical games and exercises that offer new and different ways of approaching one’s instrument and participating in the unfolding music.

The remaining workshops will follow. Please stay tuned.

Free Improvisation II

A continuation of Free Improvisation I. Those interested in going deeper into the practice of freely improvised music-making will gather with others for more play, more discussion and critique, and more in-depth exercises designed to both open up and hone their approach as improvisers.

Creative Music Interpretation and Performance

A deeper dive into the complex world of creative music-making, this course brings pre-composed elements into play. Participants will encounter many of the different ways that creative musicians compose musical structures for improvisers to navigate including game pieces, text-based compositions, conduction concepts, graphic scores, and different ways of using and negotiating traditional western notation.

Creative Music Composition and Performance

A continuation of Creative Music Interpretation and Performance, this course is for those who wish to begin composing their own music for a group of improvisers. Participants will develop their own pieces in a workshop environment and play compositions by their colleagues in the class.


Who is Joe Sorbara?

Canadian drummer and percussionist Joe Sorbara has spent more than two decades developing a reputation as an imaginative and dedicated performer, composer, improviser, collaborator, organiser, listener, writer, and educator. A consummate sonic adventurer, Sorbara’s music draws on a vast array of influences, most notably the African American Creative Music tradition. Joe has played and recorded with the AIMToronto Orchestra, Ken Aldcroft, Jared Burrows, Anthony Braxton, Nikita Carter, Paul Dutton, François Houle, Germaine Liu, Thollem McDonas, Evan Parker, Allen Ravenstine, Clyde Reed, Steve Sladkowski, and Friendly Rich, among many many others. Their own projects include a new sextet (more soon!) in addition to Alien Radio, Never Was, The Imperative, Other Foot First, Reliable Parts, Aurealities, Mars People, My Misshapen Ear, and the Imaginary Percussion Ensemble. 

Joe is a long-time student of master drummer Jim Blackley. They hold an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from York University in Toronto, a Master’s degree in English from the University of Guelph, and are currently studying toward a PhD Critical Improvisation Studies. Joe has worked extensively as a workshop facilitator and guest lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Toronto, Humber College, Vancouver Community College, Capilano University, and the Regent Park School of Music and began teaching through the School of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Guelph in 2007.