Even if you're nervous...

Learning Improv For Beginners!

Tips, strategies and ideas to make learning improv easier!

Have you ever started to learn something and gave up because you weren’t making enough progress?

The odds are, you hadn’t earned the right to give up for lack of progress. Many people believe in the “Talent Myth.” They think, “If I’m meant to do something, I’ll be good at it from the get-go.” That’s a bunch of nonsense! There are numerous reasons:

  • You expect to progress without work. There is nothing in your life you were always good at doing. What were you good at as a baby? Nothing but pooping, peeing and crying! Everything else you had to learn. Even things you later learned fairly quickly we developed by previous skills: learning to drive was made easier by learning to ride a bike.
  • You're moving the yardstick so you can’t reach it. Often, you’ll look at how much progress you’ve made and only decide after the fact how much you should have progressed. (If you scored 10 points, you should have scored 20. If you scored 20, you'll change it to 30.)
  • You’re comparing apples to parrots. You compare yourself to your teacher, another student with years of experience, people you see on TV -- anyone more skilled than you because of a logical reason: more experience and effort.
  • You believe movie after movie that dramatizes that it’s not really hard work that leads to success. It’s talent and really believing you can do it. Maybe having a special knowledge from a grandmaster. Find Mr. Miyagi and he’ll teach you everything you need to know to bring down the Cobra Kai, guys who have been working years longer. Just believe in yourself!

All of these things will stop you from learning improv and anything else you wish to learn in life. They'll stop you in your tracks before you even start. 

What is a healthy way to approach learning improvisational theater and anything else? Take a look:

  1. You always start of bad at a new skill. If you’re learning spanish, you’ll be bad at it at first. Duh! That’s okay.
  2. You have to start with the basics. You can’t jump ahead. You won't be an expert over night!​
  3. At first what you learn is awkward and you’ll make mistakes. Then, you’ll become more comfortable with it, but still have to focus on it. Eventually, you’ll be able to do it without thinking - and, you’ll still make mistakes sometimes.
  4. Anything worth learning takes effort.
  5. You can never be expert enough on the basics. The basics are everything. If you think you’ve outgrown them, it’s ego talking. And, you always have more to learn.
  6. Keep a positive expectancy and a pleasant attitude.
  7. The more you practice learning, the better you get at it.
  8. The more time you spend using a skill, the faster you progress.
  9. The only person worth comparing yourself to is your past self. How much progress have you made since you started?

That's a simple rundown of an approach that guarantee your success in improv and anything else worth learning in life. You'll learn faster, make quicker progress and have more fun when you really utilize this approach. 

Chad's improv
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