Circlesinging and Vocal Improvisation 101

Get started in the wonderful world of Circlesongs leadership, and Vocal Improvisation for small groups of singers.

You’ll Learn:

  • Discovering sources of music within yourself
  • “Components” of building improvised musical textures, e.g. Motor, Interlock, Contrast, Melody
  • Foregrounds vs. backgrounds, or “fanfares” vs. “doot-doots”
  • Making melody over looping parts
  • Introduction to different “Formats” in which these techniques can be used


The practice of singing in a circle is as old as humanity. That said, many attribute a certain renaissance of this practice to Bobby McFerrin and some of his musical collaborators. Bobby’s 1997 album “Circlesongs” serves as an example of what’s possible with new techniques for free improvisation with a chorus, as is the July 19 1997 episode of “Sessions at West 54th.” Read more about circlesinging here.

Now, circlesinging in this style has become a worldwide community of practice—and you can become a part of it! If you’d like to host community-singing events in which the singing is free and spontaneous, or if you would like to improvise more confidently in your music education classroom, this workshop will equip you with enough tools to get started. We will run through the basics of circlesinging, and teach you several ways use can use it in groups of 2 – 200 singers.

Options for Scheduling

These days and times are subject to change, based on the best availability of the students enrolled in the class. If you sign up and the class meets at a time you are unable to attend, you will receive a full refund or credit toward a future class. Instruction takes place over the course of four classes, held over Zoom:

  • Class 1: week of January 23rd, 2022—exact day and time TBD based on participants’ availability
  • Class 2: week of January 30th, 2022—exact day and time TBD based on participants’ availability

Alternatively, Amado can come to your location for a One-Day Intensive, which will include 3 hours of instruction for 2 to 5 leader-trainees, plus one session leading a 2-hour circlesinging event for 12+ people in which the leader-trainees can practice their new skills under Amado’s guidance.


Successful students in this practice generally have experience making up their own harmonies, e.g. when singing along with the radio. General knowledge of the basic structures of music—major and minor chords, 7-note scales, and normal meters—is typically a strong enough base to build these techniques upon.

Register Now

Arrangements must be made individually for the One-Day Intensive. Use the Contact page to get in touch with Amado about in-person, on-site training.

Online training: $95 for 3 hours of instruction.