“Humor and creativity work in similar ways,” says humor guru William Fry, M.D., of Stanford University–”by creating relationships between two disconnected items, you engage the whole brain.”
“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.” — Catherine Rippenger Fenwick FROM “The Connection between Laughter, Humor and Good Health” U. Kentucky study/report
NYIT Artistic Director and Hudson County (NJ) Resident, Walt Frasier, is touring New Jersey K-12 Schools – as well as New York, Connecticut and beyond – to deliver his Masterclass “IMPROV THIS!” to teach creativity, community and leadership. Mr Frasier’s high energy inspires students to greatness, breaking down walls of mistrust and building confidence and trust. In addition to teaching thousands of students every year, Mr. Frasier recently presented this class and related KEYNOTE students at the Annual Conference held by the New Jersey Association for Gifted Children.
CALL / EMAIL SGF PRODUCTIONS TODAY for more information on classes, shows, dates and rates – p) 212-568-6560 e) firstname.lastname@example.org
The 60-120 minute classes uses Improv Comedy to teach valuable life skills and address many issues facing students, teachers and schools today. While having fun playing various theater games, Mr. Frasier teaches lessons of cultural arts, language arts and character building.
– The power of “YES! And…” Working as one supportive team
– Public Speaking – presentation, projection
– FOCUS – Listening, Eye Contact
– Communication – Sending and Receiving information clearly
– Creativity – brainstorming ideas and details
– Story Telling – creating characters & setting, developing plot, First Person v Third Person Voices
– Overcoming Fear – Don’t be the victim, Don’t Be a Bully
Improv Comedy Classes are fun! So fun students don’t even realize they are learning valuable life skills. Every session includes playing warm-up, technique development and performance games. In the process we realize in a hands on way what so many teachers teach.
Perfect supplement program for
– Destination Imagination Improv Challenge teams
– Theater Clubs and Productions
– Language Arts sections on creative writing, story telling and communications
– Guidance – Anti-Bully, Self Confidence, Career Preparation
A student appreciates the process of analyzing a story’s characters, plot, and themes after engaging in the process in a very physical hand-ons manner. It is no longer a strictly cerebral activity because they have experienced the process for them selves.
Now when a high school student has to deal with Shakespeare, Bronte, Dickinson, Twain or Hemingway, there will be a new connection. Homework and Reading lists become a welcomed exercise in discovery.
Theater arts inspires students to read and explore literary arts. Now when they analyze a novel, they are better able to imagine themselves in the story.
PUBLIC SPEAKING and Overcoming Fear Through Play
One of the greatest – and unintended outcomes – our these programs has been the ability to address a number of issues facing students today. Glossophobia – Fear of Public Speaking – has been well documented as being the most common of all fears. And the older one gets – like anything – the harder it is to overcome the habit of fear. Glossophobia reaches far beyond the fear of standing in front of a class room and delivering a presentation. It extends to fear of reading in the class or even sharing a thought. That extends to ability to make friends, interview for a job, or stand-up for yourself when confronted by bullying behavior. OR one overcompensates and becomes the bully.
This happens in the corporate world daily. FEAR keeps individuals from participating andcontributing. This leads to lack of care. Offices become full of mindless drones doing just enough not to get fired – a common theme regularly satirized in TV and film.
But a team of workers ready to contribute, not fearing the reactionary opinion of their peers, leads to a team of supportive peers that welcome new ideas. The cycle is broken and productivity leaps forward. We no longer try to make all conform to a single mold and now celebrate diversity.
Mr. Frasier tells students every day, the sooner you challenge yourself to speak in public, the sooner it gets easier the second time… then the next time… “I treat public speaking like a 5 year old – I could care less what others think!” BE SILLY! HAVE FUN! Let go of everyday worries for a few minutes. Five year olds play without fear. How hard does that becomes as “GROW UP?” Studies show most “KIDS” stop being kids by the 4th grade.
Most adults beat the creativity and joy out of being a kid. Our goal is to keep the good parts of being a kid alive – or recapture it Post-mortem in classes for teens and adults.
ACTING/CREATIVITY IS THE APPLICATION OF PSYCHOLOGY 101
A big part of all the arts is observing life. Instead of fearing experience, we seek it out. And then we report and interpret what we see and experience.
Daily homework for comedy class is observing life. Watching other students at lunch, in class, on the bus, at play… Observing folks at the mall.
We keep a journal and record our experiences. These often become inspirations for Improv Scenes as well as comedy sketches, stand-up, poems, plays and short stories.
In the process of observing and interpreting we deepen our understanding of ourselves. Big problems becomes small. We better see the repercussions of hate, fear and violence. We appreciate the benefit of joy and love.
Then we realize those every day worries are actually not that bad when you get to NOT WORRY about them for a few minutes. This all allows us to better navigate our world instead of hiding and avoiding and fearing it.
USING IMPROV BEYOND THE THEATER
After doing a series of Professional development sessions for a Queens, NY High School teachers began to share stories of using Improv to act out famous characters in History, Science and Literature. “OOPS, I think I just discovered penicillin!”. By acting out scenes from the Scottish Play (As an actor I dare not even type the real title LOL) the Shakespeare’s Words leap off the page.
Even in a math class, the teacher used ZIP ZAP ZUP to get his students focused and ready to listen.
And in many advanced professional development sessions – and corporate events – we are using Improv to role play scenarios. Instead of just complaining about Parent – teacher relationships, we act them out, have a good laugh, than engage in deep discussion on how to “YES! And…” the situation.
COMEDY not THEATER – sort of…
One of our successes is BRANDING. By calling these programs COMEDY CLASSES we are able to reach a lot more students they brand theater as UNCOOL. Everyone loves comedy. When we go into inner city schools, theater is the last thing students want. But they love Kevin Hart. They love TV.
We believe every school in America should be offering COMEDY CLASSES. In “IMPROV THIS!” the book, Mr. Frasier includes a section on creative writing for sketch, stand-up and more. For decades, schools focused on poetry and short stories. But one could use comedy to teach the same path of creative discovery. More students can relate to comedy in 2015. Once you have the creative juices flowing, bring back poetry, short stories, plays and larger works.
In addition to professional theatrical credits in opera (International), Shakespeare and other theater (Off Broadway and touring Nationwide), Mr Frasier has appeared on Late Nite with David Letterman, MTV, VH1, and other sketch comedy, reality shows and commercials. As an actor Mr. Frasier has appeared on Lilyhammer (NETFLIX, filmed in Norway), Royal Pains (USA, filmed in Puerto Rico), Blue Bloods (CBS) and Naked Brothers Band (NICK). Since starting the Improv Troupe in 2002, Mr Frasier has performed over 5000 Improv Comedy shows in Times Square and touring nationwide.
FREE COPIES OF “IMPROV THIS!”
And now for every school, camp or non-profit that hosts a masterclass or residency, Mr Frasier is donating five copies of his book, “IMPROV THIS!” Keep in the school library for reference, or give to the students. Additional copies just $10 (reg $20 w/o Workshop). We can also send you a FREE downloadable and printable PDF version of the book. The book contains instruction on how to play numerous Improv games, performance techniques, and even creative writing for stand-up and sketch comedy (Also great techniques for poetry and short stories).
$200/Class ONE 90-120 minute session OR TWO 45-60 minute sessions back to back during or after school (Usually $500-1000 for corporate workshops)
$500/Day Up to 6 hours of workshops
$1500/Week Up to 20 hours of residency OR 8 Classes working with same team for 2-4 weeks (usually 2-hour sessions after school).
$20/book We can mail you a copy of IMPROV THIS. ($15 FIVE or more copies)
IMPROV 4 KIDS / TEENS K-12
ASSEMBLIES in NJ Schools
“A production you and your children don’t want to miss!” ABC NEWS 7, NY regarding Improv 4 Kids Field Trips to Times Square.
$700 ONE SHOW 45-60 minutes
$1000 for two shows back to back
$1400 day of shows & workshops 4 teaching artists up to four 45-60 minute sessions.
A great way to introduce these programs to your school, we perform assemblies, after school and even evening and weekend social events including PTA fundraisers.
What can laughter do?
Here are just some benefits for mental, physical and social health
•Lower blood pressure
•Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
•Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
•Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
•Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
•Defend against respiratory infections–reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.
•Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor
during instruction led to increased test scores
•Improve alertness, creativity, and memory
We have heard of but have not yet taken the time to look for published references for:
- American College of Cardiology. Laughter stimulates the brain’s reward center which releases dopamine and then stimulates the frontal lobe and enhances thinking.
- Cerebral Cortex. In a study, the funnier subjects rated a cartoon, the harder the 2 hemispheres of the brain worked.
- Cornell University – Alice Isen. In a study of creativity, undergraduate students were divided into two groups. One group watched old TV comedies before being given a task, while the other group watched nothing before being given the same task. The task involved nailing a lit candle to a cardboard wall with a box of tacks. The group that watched the comedy shows was shown to be 3 times as likely to accomplish the task.
- Indiana University – Dolt Zillman. In a 22 year study, research showed humor can make the learning experience more pleasant. However, it must be tuned attuned to audience knowledge. It also showed that humor can be effectively used to enhance student attention, improve classroom environment and lower test anxieties.
- Johns Hopkins University – Ronald Berk. Through research Dr. Berk states that sharing a laugh helps students learn more. He states that to be effective, comedy must compliment, not distract from course material. This research was formally published in 2007 and in the book Humor as an Instructional Defibrillator.
- Johns Hopkins University Medical School. This study divided students taking a test into two groups. One group received a test with humorous instructions, while the other group received the exact same test, but without the humor. The group with the humorous instructions scored significantly higher than the other group.
- Middle Tennessee State. Two groups were given single sentences on the same topic. One sentence was humor, while the other was not. The students with the humorous sentence remembered the complete sentence and individual words better than the other group.
- National Research Council. Research shows students function more effectively when they feel respected and valued. Also they function poorly when disrespected and marginalized.
- NEA Journal – The Lighter Side of Laughter. Researchers believe that humor serves to arouse student interest and attention. This increase in turn motivates students and increases the likelihood they understand and retain information. Beware – students laugh for a number of reasons. They might be amused but they might be unsure of what is going on, they might be following what others are doing, or it might be laughing because they’re anxious and stressed.
- New Direction for School Development. Close relationships with teachers lead to higher levels of student engagement and achievement.
- Review of Educational Research – Osterman. Learning requires involvement and the best prediction of student effort and engagement in schooling is the relationships they have with a teacher.
- St. Norbert College – James Neuliep. The following are some comments from Neuliep about his study of high school teachers and the use of humor. “Between student and teacher there’s a status differential in the classroom. Humor can help both the student and teacher cross the bridge together. How high school teachers use humor showed that they most frequently employ it as a way of putting students at ease, as an attention getter, and as a way to show students that the teacher is human. Humor, used appropriately, can help reduce the psychological distance between teachers and students, while inappropriate humor increases distance. In other words, humor directed at a student in the form of ridicule, sarcasm, and joking references to ethnic, racial, and gender differences are out.”
- Sam Houston University. A study showed that students are more likely to recall lectures when it was interjected with jokes about relevant topics.
University of North Carolina – Barbara Fredrickson
In a study of the effects of laughter on creative thought, the following results were given.
- increased positive mental state
- increased open mindedness
- increased creativity
- increased capacity to adapt to change
- increased broad thinking
- recommends a 3 to 1 ratio of positive comments to negative comments