"The room would fill with laughter . . . everyone had an exciting, fun-filled and wonderful
musical time with Paul . . ." --Citizens Advice Bureau, NYC
A Teaching Tool For Children Musical improv is a teaching tool for children. Meaning: it is a tool we can use to teach children - and it is a tool children can use to teach themselves.
Paul has experienced that children regularly nurtured through musical improv gain powerful skills of flexibility, inventiveness, and resourcefulness - they learn to enter into the dance of collaboration with a strong sense of individuation.
He approaches teaching children from the practice that the most valuable thing you can do is to engage a child's imagination into co-creative play. There's nothing more exciting to a child when they realize that what they do affects and influences the story.
Paul works with children in various capacities:
- --music and movement in preschools
- --school residencies
- --musical improv in a camp setting
- --teaching guitar using improv
- --birthday parties
- --private story time and music hours
Paul Helou: Workshops
"Thank you for your marvelous interactive performance with the children. Your energy and receptivity were very impressive." --Washington Market School, NY
Songs in Motion With an inventive sense of humor and a welcoming spirit, Paul is up on his feet with his guitar, picking up on clues and cues from his participants/audience – ready and willing to take a tumble into the silly, spontaneous and outrageous through music, movement, improvisation, and storytelling.
Whether they are clapping hands, using shakers and percussion instruments, engaging in dance games, acting out characters or animals to changing musical accompaniment, or participating in more sophisticated theater games, children are the heart and soul of Songs in Motion – influencing and co-creating the exciting twists and turns of the program with Paul’s guidance.
With both educational and entertainment applications, Songs in Motion is adaptable to all ages – from toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school children, to pre-teens, teens, and even adults.
"Wild About Books . . . was original, fresh, and kept the kids' interests." --Hawthorne Elementary School, NY Wild About Books In a multimedia world that conditions children to be passive consumers of entertainment, Wild About Books! is a way to encourage children to engage their imaginations through interactive songs and musical improv games. This is a movie-goer society, but the pictures you see in your imagination as you read, tell or listen to a story, or simply get up and dance, bring you into the picture. Books are alive because of the life and imagination we bring to the experience of storytelling. You are a co-creator!
Record Your Own Song Workshop Call for more details about this workshop where Paul helps children develop original songs – and then records on a multi-track recorder using real instruments. The result: a finished song (or songs) children have on a CD.
Having composed songs such as Sweet Janine (which won first place in bluegrass at the biggest bluegrass festival in the country -- Winfield), Paul is an energetic and exciting frontman for bluegrass/folk ensembles. He works with a variety of players -- fiddlers, mandolin players, banjo players (did you hear the one about the difference between a banjo and trampoline . . . just kidding!), and some hot lead guitarists. Great for festivals and family audiences. Paul will be releasing Walking in Dreamtime, a CD of his eclectic songwriting, which will include some bluegrass/folk material.
Workshops for Adults “When I'm singing and improvising with Paul, I feel such incredible joy; a freedom of expression and creativity that makes me giddy.” --Mary Andrews, actress/singer
In addition to being a singer/songwriter and guitarist, Paul has extensive experience as a theatrical improviser, actor and musical storyteller. In this respect, he is skilled at guiding adults – from entertainers of all sorts to folks just looking to expand creative horizons –through a fun, intuitive and engaging process of musical/theatrical improvisation. As we become adults, we can forget that creative play is one key to unlocking new potential and freedom of expression in ourselves. Move! Let out a sound! Get silly and into some creatively expanding fun!
The Joy of Musical Improv!
With Paul Helou & Carol Fox Prescott*
During years of working together, acting/performance coach Carol Fox Prescott and guitarist/improv storyteller Paul Helou have developed a fun, inspiring workshop unlike any musical improv you've experienced (or haven't!) before,
Using elements of rhythm, sound, breath and body awareness, the class focuses on practicing ways of freeing that intuitive "player" within each of us who, at any given moment, is raring to express the truth of our own experience.
Singing, dancing and acting experience is optional. The only requirement is a willingness to show up and play.
The combination of Carol's pioneering work in breath and body awareness as an acting and performance technique - and Paul's uncanny ability to use his guitar playing as a tool for deep listening and genuine play - makes for a satisfying, adventurous, and enlivening blend of theater and musical improvisation.
*With experience in the theater as an actress, singer, and instructor for over thirty years, Carol Fox Prescott teaches actors, singers, and various performers ways of freeing and integrating their emotional, physical and imaginative instruments. Her students are seen regularly on stage in New York and regional theaters, recurring roles and guest shots on national television, and in feature films.
Musical Improv for Singer/Songwriters & Musicians
Have you ever seen or heard a performer that transports you, takes you on an experience, and, although you may be sitting, you feel like you’ve gone on some far-flung satisfying journey? Be that performer every moment you play!
Put some fire, body, and “play” back into your playing! Don’t get stuck on notes! Learn your craft, yes, but when the time comes to perform, put your awareness on your breath, body and being in the moment with your audience, fellow musicians, or music students. Develop an invisible technique that will engage people, though they may not know why (but you will!).
Through some simple but effective techniques, Paul will guide you through an experience of “playing” yourself through the music and song. You’re worth it, and your job is to be a vibrant, alive and receptive instrument (you – your body, imagination, breath, etc), and express the material in that spirit.
Songwriting Through Improv
While brainstorming and putting thoughts down on paper are useful ways to spark inspiration, you can discover gems otherwise hidden to the cerebral approaches to songwriting. Paul has found that getting on your feet and exploring material, through movement and musical improv, can actualize your songwriting and set new rhythms free in your body and imagination.
A song then is a sort of choreographed improvisation designed to inspire both you and your listeners. When you play your song, it can be alive and vibrant with an energy that is always new and different. In other words, the song may be written, but the experience of the song in the moment is always improvised and new. Learn how to enjoy and cherish this experience!