Why All College Students Should Take an Improvisation Course

As a theatre major, by default, I am required to take a course in improvisation. In a couple of weeks of being in a class full of improvisers, the skill set I have developed from this course awakened a lot of thoughts that I had not been able to touch on before. For someone who would like to continue theatre in some way in the future, I realized that to do so; I must tell that I must first find myself worthy. In any field (or life in general), it is crucial to have faith in your abilities as an individual. This year especially, if you are in need of an elective, entertainment or a new interest, this is the place for you to be!

  1. 1. It Helps With Interviews of All Kinds 

    Thinking on your feet is a crucial skill set to have. With interviews especially, employers love to see how fast and efficient you are in responding to a detailed question. A major rule in improvisation that is taught is the concept of “yes, and.” In interviews especially, it is impressive to give as much information as you can while paying close attention to detail. The basic premise of “yes, and” stresses the importance of expanding how your thought process and your ability of thinking in a high-pressure setting. Another technique you pick up on is developing connections. In a scene, you get to know your partner by going back and forth with them, unaware of what is to come next. Interviews are conducted in a similar fashion, and developing a connection allows the interviewer to connect with you on a more personal level.  

  2. 2. It Builds Confidence 

    If you are not authentic in yourself, how can you believe that you will be successful in the near future? Like I previously mentioned, this is a concept that is fairly new to me as well. Improvisation is a beautiful way to celebrate who you are as an individual. For a temporary moment, we can uplift ourselves in an imaginary world full of endless possibilities.

    This form of theatre embraces the abnormal, the ugly and the hysterical moments we all bring differently to the table. In the world of improv, we are taught to expect anything and everything. This can efficiently be linked to one’s confidence solely because you can be content with various outcomes in life. Confidence is a key factor that we all could use, and in improvisation, there is no right or wrong: only open doors to opportunities.  

  3. 3. It Teaches Awareness of Your Surroundings 

    In improvisation courses, listening to your partner is a major aspect of understanding the context of a scene you are creating. Learning to listen also aids in our self-awareness and prevents us from not simply thinking. Your way of thinking will change to being in the present moment instead of analyzing the potential outcomes of a moment. Being present and being self-aware is truly a life-skill. When the world around you changes, you are able to adapt, respond and be flexible. 

Improvisation is a tool that you can use in any situation. In various forms of mainstream media, it is used a lot more commonly than you would think. Not only will you take away life skills, but you also will develop friendships by working in such an intimate setting. It may sound scary at first, but it is a great way to become in tune with yourself! If you are unsure of what to take in the upcoming semester, I highly recommend looking into an improvisation course.