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Bangor Search & Reflect workshop 08.04.2023

Tŷ Sain series event seven in Bangor Gwynedd now has a workshop element
please refer to the workshop tab for more information.

Search and Reflect

NEW: John Steven's search and reflect exercises and drills for improvisers

This session will feature exercises from John Stevens book scheme of work for improvisers `search and reflect`
The exercises develop basic skills for improvisers, the book and its exercises are a tool for you development, as an individual and within an ensemble.
All levels of experience are welcome. Bring your instrument or `anything you have to hand in your sonic tool box` that has a sonic interest for you.

John Steven's exercises are a tool for developing personal skills: THEY ARE ALSO FUN.

Search and reflect feedback

The following review is lifted from

This music workshop manual documents the pieces used by the London-based organisation Community Music in its workshops. The value in these pieces lies in their practical application and they are an excellent tool for every music workshop leader, for every music teacher, and for individual musicians with an interest in improvisation. The pieces are designed to encourage more people to participate in group music-making and therefore cater as much for the musically inexperienced as for the proficient musican. Each piece includes detailed guidance, but only a few include musical notation. They may be played or sung.

An introduction – Preliminaries – offers invaluable advice on how to run an effective improvisation workshop. The manual is then divided into two sections – Rhythm and Improvisation. In the Rhythm Section, the twelve pieces aim to help develop rhythmic skills - maintaining regular tempo, independence, and overall rhythmic awareness. The author demonstrates the essence of timekeeping with the basic unit of ONE TWO. This is presented with clear guidelines for its practice and development, stage by stage. Later, the Rhythm Tree chapter teaches how to play 3 over 4, 5 over 4, and 7 over 4, with many practical ideas and exercises for workshop use. Oddseven explores the harmonic possibilities of a scale within a rhythmic framework.

The Improvisation Section deals with specific processes and skills which help to prepare the way for a sensitive, concentrated approach to create group interaction and individual spontaneity. Beginning with three preparatory exercises to encourage each individual to maintain a balance between being a receptive ear and having creative freedom, this section continues with Click Piece (focussing on short sounds, independence and connectiveness), Sustain (focussing on long sounds and breathing) and a further 14 pieces which develop listening and playing skills within a group environment.

Search and reflect videos

Dot piece

Excerpt from the book 

'Using only clicks (the shortest sounds we can make) each individual in the group tries to locate a space (silence) in which to place their click (dot). Because of the group activity, the silences are minute and pass by rapidly, so by the time you have heard a space, and attempted to put a dot in it, that space may have vanished..


John Stevens’ ‘Sustain Piece’

performed by 13 piece group consisting of members of the Infinite Monkey Orchestra and Liverpool Improvisation Collective with Maggie Nicols. Recorded on 31st March 2012 at the Bluecoat Arts Centre, presented by Frakture.

Excerpt from the book 

'Sustain Piece' is primarily to do with breathing, Breath is, of course, fundamental to all our activities - without it, the activity is non-existent (and so are we). Here is an opportunity to concentrate on breathing in a relaxed yet intense way, which will involve us, almost as a by-product, in music making. Individually, each person sustains a note which is as long as their breath length. Collectively, the piece sustains itself - although it moves in waves, it sounds continual; because individual breath lengths vary, there will always be some sound.


The Tŷ Sain extended sessions - Concert element

We will try to include a concert element within the extended sessions.
For more details go to the Improvisers networks Online Wales section, and find the article for either the concert or the extended session.

Please follow this link



Tŷ Sain series has settled on the following format.

  • Saturday afternoon sessions (or Sunday)
  • 2-6 pm
  • Modular, the session may will include the following
    • Workshops pieces and exercises
    • Ensemble playing
    • A concert by guests, or a performance drawn from the participants present.
  • All levels of ability are welcome to join us on the night. Bring what ever is to hand.

Criteria for participation in the ensemble playing

The event will feature ensemble improvisations under the name of grŵp cynfas gwag
All levels of ability are welcome to join us on the night. Bring what ever is to hand.
Please make contact to share your intentions.
The music starts from a Blank Canvas, it is ensemble improvisations made without prior preparartion.

Date and times

  1. Saturday 08.04.2022  Doors 14.00 - event start 14.30
    1. Search and reflect 14.30 - 15.15
    2. Ensemble work 15.30 - 16.15
    3. Concert element at 16.30 - 17.15 - to be confirmed
    4. Social time and discussion.


free, there is no fee at present during 2023
Charges will be introduced in 2023


The events are scheduled to be monthly.
There are long term plans for weekly events, using a range of venues in North Wales and Online

Event Schedule


  • 11.02.2023 - confirmed
  • 18.02.2023 - 16.00 open session confirmed, location The Pontio, part of the Bangor New Music Festival.
  • 11.03.2023 - confirmed
    • Ensemble section
    • Concert section confirmed, guest act P[a]B[a]W[a]L from Sheffield.
  • 08.04.2023 - confirmed
  • 13.05.2023 - NOT confirmed
  • 10.06.2023 - NOT CONFIRMED.



The Friends Meeting House - The Quakers
6 Dean St,
Bangor LL57 1UP


About Tŷ Sain

The Genre:

Free ensemble improvisation in performance. a live music made without prior preparation


The starting point will be Bangor or Llandudno, but can be delivered anywhere:
The A55 corridor from Chester/Wrexham through to Aberdarron can be considered.


The objective for Improvisers North wales is to make free ensemble improvisation available on a weekly schedule for those who are interested.
Tŷ Sain concert series supports this objective and aims to provided monthly sessions that are part of this schedule.

Interested as an individual

email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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