How to be successful in an improv class

When you succeed, we succeed

Whether it is your first time taking an improv class, or you’ve come up through all the levels of our training program, we want you to always have a positive experience learning with us.  Here are some recommendations for how to make the most of your time in the class.

Come to class on time

Please let your instructor know if you are going to be late or miss a class meeting.  Your instructor will strive to respect students’ time by starting and finishing the class on schedule, so the longer it takes for everyone to show up and get started, the less time everyone has to learn, play, and have fun.

Attend all class meetings

We understand that work and life demands aren’t always easy to schedule around.  Missing 1 class meeting isn’t the end of the world; just jump back in next time ready to participate!  If you miss 2 class meetings, it may become difficult for you to keep pace with the rest of the group, and get all the learning and practice you want.

Since this is collaborative work in an ensemble, allowing advancement to the next level without the building blocks of each prior level can hinder the development of the whole class.  If you miss 3 class meetings, your instructor may ask you to drop out of the class and retake it the next time it is offered.

Be respectful

Students should always be physically gentle and appropriate with each other, and treat each other positively on- and off-stage.  Avoid going out of your way to be shocking or offensive.  Likewise, be understanding and forgiving when mistakes are made.  In an improv class, everyone is trying something new, so our goal is to foster a safe environment where we can make mistakes joyfully and without discomfort.

Be physically prepared to participate

Wear clothing that will enable you to do whatever you want to do on stage without discomfort or risk of injury.  Closed-toed shoes are strongly recommended.

Talk about what you want to get out of the class

Improv isn’t just for comedians.  People get into improv for all sorts of personal and professional reasons:  public speaking, listening, making friends, getting out of their comfort zone, etc.  Your instructor will be happy to know what you are looking to get out of the class, so they can emphasize areas of interest and give ample opportunity for practice.


After the first class meeting, your instructor will provide you with their contact information and add you to a non-spammable class-wide email thread.  Please be respectful to your fellow students and use good judgement when emailing, replying, and replying all.  If your class has a TA or an ImproPal, they may summarize the key takeaways from each class meeting and send them out by email.  Don’t hesitate to contact your instructor by email if you have questions or concerns about the class.

Accept feedback

While Levels 0 and 1 are about taking your first steps in improv, learning the basics, gaining confidence, and getting comfortable on stage, the upper levels are geared increasingly toward developing you as an improv performer.  Starting with Level 2, your instructor will be looking for opportunities to provide you with focused, constructive feedback on your performances.  We call this process “giving notes.”

Your instructor may give you notes individually or as a group, verbally or in writing, or some combination of all of these.  The purpose of giving notes is not to criticize you or tell you what you “should have done.”  It’s about connecting back to the topics covered in class and trying them out the next time you step onstage.  If you’re given a note, try not to take it personally; accepting feedback is an important part of learning and performing.  If you need to discuss a note, ask to speak with your instructor in private before or after class.

Come to shows, playgrounds, jams, etc.

Seeing improv in action is essential to learning and growing as an improviser.  We encourage you to come to shows, playgrounds, and jams whenever they’re happening.  Bring your friends, or better yet, come to shows with your classmates as a group!

Have fun!

Improv is a daring, life-changing art form.  Get to know and enjoy other members of the community and the students in your class.  The more you know and trust each other, the more fun you’ll have playing together.