How to improvise on the piano to live comedy

For those of you whom know Who’s Line is it Anyways, often music accompanies live comedy performances.  The Oakville Theater Company offers live improvisation performances, and classes, and we had an opportunity to perform live with them! This is what we learned.


Create a list of atmospheres of sounds before you perform.

When improvise on the piano to live comedy, one of your main roles will be to create atmospheric effects through sounds.  Check out these Youtube musicians for some ideas!

  • Suspense

  • Romantic (slow, major chords, open through using higher octaves of piano)

  • Awe/Wonder (any kind of V7 chords, broken, and explore different octaves)

  • Scary (minor key/semitone movement)

  • Happy (you may want to reference a specific song here, or perform chords in a major key)


You may also want to have reference “go to” songs which represent an era of time;

Live improv piano - teacher Emilee performs at the Oakville Improv Theater

2. Observe the behaviors of the comedians

  • make sure your music is not louder than the performers.

 The music should supplement their actions, not be background noise. Less is more!

3.  Have fun! See how you can react to the actors, and change the mood by your change of tonality.

When improvise on the piano to live comedy, you have the ability to control the scene with your music. You and your comedians are a team- and you take cues from each other. Remember that you must observe their behavior to your musical suggestions, and simply performing in major scales VS minor scales, completely changes the mood of the scene.

It is very fun!

Music at live comedy

Oakville Improv Theater Company

The Oakville Improv Theater Company is a very fun activity on a Friday night in Oakville. With $5-$10 tickets, you can have a good night out in Oakville for a very affordable cost.

For more information, visit their website.

Thanks all!


Book a lesson today and learn piano at your home.

For more information on Feely Piano School Lessons, visit our contact us page here.


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