launch player

Creative Ensemble Lab (CEL)

Making music your voice

The excellent ear and fine classical training provided by the Suzuki approach


improvisation, composition, arranging, and orchestration techniques


you playing music that is uniquely yours.

The Creative Ensemble Lab class is a class where we explore creativity, not just with music, but also with art and story. We create  and perform an original piece in every class. Everyone who attends can make a contribution to the group project, even beginners who can’t play an instrument yet – we have a few percussion instruments and similar things that they can use.

CEL classes follow the mother-tongue method in the development of reading and writing skills. In the same way that children learn to speak before they learn to read and write, we begin with improvisation to develop fluency in the language of music. We gradually introduce notation and music theory in order to write down the improvisations.


Two terms of Saturday classes, CEL 1 at 11:00 am and CEL 2 at 1:00 pm

  • Term 1: mid September to early December [see calendar…]
  • Term 2: mid January to early May [see calendar…]
  • Approximately 11 classes in each term, designed to finish the week before the RCM Theory exams, for those students who wish to use these classes as part of their exam preparation.


Schoen Duo Studio


Free, for students who are registered for lessons through the Schoen Duo Studio. Other students may register here and attend for $220 per term.


The improvisation process begins with the Creative Ability Development program of Alice Kanack, in which improvisation is used as a tool to develop the creative side of the brain. 

We are looking forward to the publication of “Fun Improvisation for Flute” by Alice Kanack, which is in development as of spring 2018.

Improvisation is not limited to music, but also includes movement, drawing, storytelling, and other arts. Movement leads to dramatic staged performance, drawing leads to musical notation in many forms, and storytelling provides formal structure for longer compositions. 

As students become more fluent improvisers, we look at examples of other performers who do similar work. As musical notation is introduced, we look at the works of other composers that employ text directions for improvisation and graphic notation. Music theory is introduced by ear at first, through scales, chords, key relationships, and forms in improvisations. Theory and notation are combined as a way of saving our spontaneous compositions. This can lead to eventually preparing for Royal Conservatory of Music theory exams (optional for those who are interested). 

Working in small groups, we explore these ideas to create and transform music in a variety of styles to open the doors of possible musical expression beyond the traditional classics. The unique pieces created during this process will be presented in the last class. CEL classes are multi-level and multi-instrument classes.

The class is split into two sections, CEL 1 and CEL 2.

A student can start to attend the Creative Ensemble Lab 1 before starting lessons on a specific instrument and continue in the class though the first years of instrument study.  In this class, children develop: ensemble skills though group performance of set repertoire, creativity and teamwork through musical improvisation, and music reading and writing skills.

Creative Ensemble Lab 2 is for students who are reading music fluently. We continue to improvise ensemble pieces, but also use our increasing knowledge of music theory to preserve our compositions with musical notation, as well as perform chamber music reading from more complex scores with multiple parts. The activities in this class can lead to Royal Conservatory of Music theory exams (optional).


Students in Suzuki programs develop an excellent ear, and can learn things very easily just by listening. Thanks to a rigorous classical training, they can play anything they hear on their instruments. In this class we offer opportunities to use these skills for creative self-expression.


This class is included as part of the course of instruction at the Schoen Duo Studio. If you study with another teacher, and would like to try out this class, ask your teacher’s permission first, and then contact us at


  • 780-944-4209

About Us:

Thomas & Kathleen Schoen are classically trained performers on both historical and modern flutes and violins. Their repertoire ranges from early music on period instruments to modern works that use phrase sampler loopers and other modern technology. read more


Recent Comments

    Salterello (excerpt)

    Salterello (excerpt)

    Siciliana (excerpt)

    Siciliana (excerpt)

    Three Reel Studies (excerpt)

    Three Reel Studies (excerpt)

    Red River Dances (excerpt)

    Red River Dances (excerpt)

    Variations on an Old Swedish Folksong (excerpt)

    Variations on an Old Swedish Folksong (excerpt)

    Profile (excerpts)

    In this EP we demonstrate the wide variety of styles we can cover. Medieval and Baroque music on period instruments, modern compositions that recall folk traditions, Native American and Metis melodies, and, of course, a little bit of classical music too.   About the Music: Salterello: This anonymous Italian dance from c.1400 is played on […]