South Orangetown Central School District

Actor Adam Sietz led students in Dr. Russell Wagoner’s The Singing Musician class at Tappan Zee High School through a few rounds of Zip Zap Zop, a warm-up for his interactive lesson on musical improvisation today. To start, players stand in a circle and one participant says “Zip” pointing to another player. The second player must immediately respond “Zap” and point to a third player who must then say “Zop” and point to another player to restart the sequence. “It gets you out of your head so that you’re just listening and reacting, instead of thinking,” Mr. Sietz explained.

“This is a great opportunity for students to work directly with a professional who is experienced in many facets of performance, including Broadway, TV and commercials,” noted Dr. Wagoner.

The award-winning writer, producer, comedian and actor began his career in stand-up comedy and champions the power of improv. “It’s a good tool to have in your pocket–even for a job interview or a first date. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, no matter what comes at you,” he advised.

After Zip Zap Zop, students ran through rhyming verse exercises, as Mr. Sietz encouraged them to “trust their brains” and embrace who they are. “My goal is to get kids to just trust their gut instinct, because 90 percent of the time, it’s right. With improv, it’s the only thing that works. You are perfect exactly the way you are and if you believe that, you cannot be beaten.”

Actor Adam Sietz leaders students in a round of drama exercise