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NOW Society

Discipline: Music
Homebase: Vancouver
Languages: English, French

The NOW Society has been presenting free public improvisation workshops to children, youth and adults for over 39 years and the onomatopoeia workshops since 2014. Artistic Director Lisa Miller has a Doctorate in Music Composition and has taught at Simon Fraser University, Capilano University and Vancouver Community College. The NOW Society and the NOW Ensemble are committed to programs for youth and seniors, Elementary and high school students with workshops for improvisers of all levels of ability, with a focus upon safe, accepting environments, healing, inclusion and above all the collaborative joy of instant creation.


The Society presented two onomatopoeia workshops to Grade 5 and 6 students at our school on May 12, 2014. The students learned about abstract music, improvisation and graphic scores, and were especially engaged when they heard their own three panel graphic/comic scores performed by the professional musicians. Paula Jeram and Kim Heinrichs, Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary
I look forward to making more music with our students and the NOW Society! This is a program that is changing lives at the public school level in a positive inspirational and inclusive setting. I am certain that our music students at New Westminster Secondary will remember these opportunities for their entire lives. Steve Clements, Director of Bands, New Westminster Secondary
The workshop is one of the best memories of third term. Christine, Student, Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary

Project Examples


Onomatopoeia uses syllables as motivic material to create textural soundscapes and form in a comic book/graphic score for improvising ensemble. These NOW Society workshops include interpretive abstract performances of the comic book and student creations by the NOW Ensemble. These performances allow students to explore personal expression through sound, collective negotiation of an artistic goal and creative collaboration. Imagery correlates with art education, encouraging the students, while creating their own comics strip panels and listening to the performances, to think of images in terms of form and connecting them with sound, beginning to develop the concept of musical narrative.

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