NOW Society Workshop Policies

NOW Society Workshop Policies

Since 1978, the New Orchestra Workshop Society (NOW) has presented free music improvisation workshops, offering space for exploration in inclusive, participant-focused environments. We encourage the creation of non-hierarchical music through instantaneous collaboration. We invite local and international improvisers to facilitate the workshops, such as Pauline Oliveros, Eyvind Kang, Lori Freedman, Kris Davis, Ava Mendoza, Satoko Fujii, Ingrid Laubrock and Douglas Ewart. The Society currently presents workshop series at the Western Front and at 8EAST.

NOW is committed to creating equitable, welcoming spaces that foster agency and cooperation. Consent is central to our practice. Our workshops are offered to improvisers of all levels of ability and ranges of experience, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race or religion.

We protect privacy in our workshops. We are aware of the problematic politics of research and the collection of personal information in the DTES and Chinatown communities; workshops at 8EAST are not documented. Online workshops are not recorded. If NOW workshops in other locations are documented, it is with the free, prior, informed and confidential consent of all participants, workshop facilitators and NOW staff.

NOW workshops accommodate up to 15 participants and 4 observers. Online workshops are open to up to 10 participants with Instruments and 15 observers. Content may be prepared and/or impromptu exercises, games and etudes that represent the philosophies and practices of the facilitator and respond to the challenges and strengths of the participants. Workshops are not in the style of performative clinics or academic lectures. Focus is upon trust, openness and responsiveness, upon egalitarian participation and instantaneous creation that is experienced rather than commodified or owned. Ample opportunities are provided to participants to play their instruments and speak about their experiences. Workshop pacing:

•    Opening - The NOW workshop moderator presents or invites a Land Acknowledgement.
•    10 minutes – The moderator welcomes everyone to the space, inviting discussion of workshop policies and upcoming events and introduces the facilitator.
•    40 minutes  – The workshop is led by the guest facilitator, the moderator becomes a participant, and is ready to assist if needed. The last 20 minutes of Western Front workshops are dedicated to participants’ direction of their compositions if they desire to do so.


We adopt the We Have Voice Collective Code of Conduct.

All participants, staff, artists and Board Members in NOW Society programs agree to follow this Code of Conduct, which applies to all NOW spaces, events, meetings, workshops, tours and online platforms. Any challenges to this Code of Conduct can be addressed by speaking with NOW Staff, NOW Board members, and/or by emailing