What’s Going On?

What’s Going On?


A musical improv warm up from Phil Lunn.

It’s loosely based on the song “What’s Up” by 4 Non-Blondes, which is better known by the yelled tagline “What’s Going On?”.

Stand in a circle. Someone chooses a location, for example “vampire castle”. Each person in turn sings a rhyming couplet that describes the environment that fits the melody.


“There’s a statue before me dripping with blood

    Don’t know what it means but it can’t be good”

And the whole group sings:

“I said hey—what’s going on?”

And we continue around the circle.

Teaching Purpose

What I like about this is that as well as practising setting up rhymes (which there’s loads of exercises for), this really tests our skill to follow a rhythm. The lines are quite long, and with quite rigid timing if you do it well. Improvising within rhythm is a hugely important skill, more important than rhyming.


This is an exercise Phil Lunn developed during a lovely afternoon being shown around Stockholm with his improviser friend Kerstin Höglund.


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