Register for Word to the Beat Workshop

Word to the Beat Workshop: Finding your Rhythm and Rhyme 

For improvisers (and/or up and coming rap artists) who want to explore rap musicality in a solo and group setting. Practice being spontaneous with your rhythm and timing, rhyme, and create improvised lyrics utilizing your voice without the pressure of melody (though melodies are always encouraged!). This Workshop will focus on using Musical Improv tools to develop your musical skills, developing your shared musical lexicon while learning warmups and games for rhythm and rhyming while making solo and group rap songs on the spot. All Skill Levels Musical Improv Improvised Rap. 

(1 meeting. Class Size Minimum=5, Max Limit = 16)

Sunday 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

February 25, 2024

with Marissa Wahkuna Ponder

Merlin Works South: Balance Dance Studios

4544 S Lamar Blvd #200/#300, Austin, TX 78745


Your Word to the Beat Instructor

Marissa Wahkuna Ponder has been in the Performing Arts since she was 3-years-old. She is a trained actress, improviser, musical improviser, vocalist (jazz and classical), musician (pianist, songwriter, composer), dancer (ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern), and DJ. 

She spent several years as the vocalist of an 8-piece jazz-funk Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson tribute band, and sang in various jazz and multi-genre bands in Northern California. She was a member in the narrative musical improv performance troupe BUMP (Boston’s Unscripted Musical Project), and the rap improv performance troupe MC Harold in Austin.

She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Education and a Master of Education in Interdisciplinary Studies.  She has spent her career teaching all ages both arts and academics, and using the arts to teach core academic subjects. 

She joyfully joined Merlin Works in the beginning of 2016 to teach talking and singing improv and have more fun with the improv community. She performed her first original song over 30 years ago, and today spends her favorite time creating songs and instrumental music so she can sing, rap, dance, and keep a beat going!

About Karina

Karina Dominguez is the registrar and assistant to the Dean of Merlin Works Institute of Improvisation. She graduated from the Merlin Works program in December 2011 with three performances of "The Amazing Improvised Race." She is a full-time actor with commercial credits such as Burger King, Ford, Totino's, H-E-B and various departments for the State of Texas. She was last seen in the opening episode of the second season of "American Crime", and as the welcome video ranger in the second season of HBO's "The Leftovers". She also performs on-stage in various Austin, TX plays including for Capital T Theatre, The Vortex, Vestige Group, Pollyanna Theater among others.

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