Musical by Nature: A Conversation with Zuza Gonçalves

Dear friends,
It is such a pleasure to share this conversation with Zuza Gonçalves.
I met Zuza at the Bobby McFerrin Circlesongs School, and was so moved by his presence, his kindness, the way he moved around the room, and how he led us in movement, song and body-percussion. It felt to me like original human music.
Zuza has been exploring alternative ways to collective music making for more than 20 years, integrating vocal improvisation, body percussion, movement, dialogue, cooperative practices and collaborative methodologies to  promote experiences where music and human connection are interconnected and feed off each other.
Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Zuza has a bachelor’s degree in Music (composing and conducting) and a graduate degree in the Pedagogy of Cooperation.  He is the co-creator of Música do Círculo, part of the faculty at Bobby McFerrin’s Circlesongs School, at IBMF (Ghana edition) and travels internationally for festivals and workshops on Música do Circulo.
In our conversation we speak about vocal improvisation as ancestral practice, and how we are all musical by nature. We speak about the challenges that arise when we outsource our musicality to a small number of performers, and don’t experience ourselves as being a part of music being made in daily life.
We also explore the value of play and improvisation, and how essential these qualities are for meeting challenging times, and how rarely modern adults get to experience play and improvisation.
Zuza also guides us all in a wonderful improv practice to sing and play along with.
To find out more about Música do Círculo and the upcoming retreats and trainings you can visit
To find out more about the Circlesongs School you can visit
Also, Zuza mentions The Well, a global vocal improvisation network

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By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.