Make One Up!
Scritti Politti, in their early days, used to get people shouting “Make one up!” at our gigs around London.
We had this policy we’d start with a song everyone knew, then make one up. Then play another song they knew, then make one up. We must have been mad.
We took it in turns, starting a song off then the other two of us had to find a way to join in. A fast guitar riff, a reggae bass line or a jungle beat. We had no idea what was coming next. Risky.
But good. It demonstrated our commitment to the DIY anti-music-biz ethic that was around in the late 1970’s. Live onstage. It also showed if you’re authentically connected you can achieve great things.
We had this uncanny ability to “listen” for the ending and stop at the same time which caused much laughter between us. Some improvised songs were chaotic and some were magnificent but all were applauded equally. I realise now we weren’t being judged on musical merit, it was more about courage and rebel style.
In my work with organisations I encourage that spirit in groups of a hundred people at a time now. Instant Teamwork sessions have people listening and responding, listening and responding. It’s rewarding, uplifting and you genuinely feel you have the power to change the world.