I’ve been talking a lot lately to my students at Laughter for a Change about improv and music. In part, because it seems that a lot of the improvisers I work with are also musicians.

The other night, I was talking to a new student (a wonderful addition to the school with a natural talent for listening) who also plays drums. He studied jazz in school. I talked about how I’ve been influenced in my work in improvisational theater by the music of John Coltrane. “Listen to Coltrane” I said. “You can hear him reaching for the next new sound in virtually every note.”

This morning I found out that, after a brief illness, a dear friend has passed away. Now, a few hours after this sad news, I am writing, while I’m listening to another great improviser, Johann Sebastian BachJanos Starker’s version of Bach’s Cello Sonatas.

As the music fills the space, I am moved, comforted, and grateful for the music in my life. Laughter is music too. When we improvise, we must play like musicians. Filling in the spaces when we are needed, supporting each other because – because life is too short for anything else.