Congratulations to Marc Silverberg who taught the VERY FIRST EVER workshop on how to hold a live-riff off competiton. Made popular by the movie Pitch Perfect, a riff-off is a competition between a cappella groups who are asked to "battle" by improvising songs withing a specified category. This sounds fantastic with some "movie magic" but in reality could easily fall on its face without some easy tips given to us by Marc:
1) Know your basic pop-song chord structures and get your group comfortable improvising background parts within these chord structures.
2) Know who likes to solo and who great on their feet.
3) Figure out what songs your group knows, and which songs you don't. It's REALLY hard to back up a soloist with a song you don't know!
4) Most of all, improvise at every rehearsal and make improvisation a key part of your arranging process.
Of course, Satellite Lane was there to embarass.... err.... support Marc at his workshop with homemade t-shirts, signs, and cheers. That's what friends are for!