The Freestyle Craft of Brenton Zola
Brenton Zola uses the power of words to cultivate humanity. He is a writer, improviser and multi-disciplinary artist. Informed by travel to 70 nations, his work blends narrative, philosophy and history to examine questions of ethics and the human social fabric. Brenton is an inaugural member of the LinkedIn Creator Accelerator program and a former inaugural Playwright Fellow at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. His poem “Multiplicity” is one of the official poems of the City of Denver.
His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Times, Newsweek, LA Times, INC, American Theater, PBS, Boulevard Magazine, Prism and NPR member-station WBUR Boston, among others.
He has also led creative collaborations with the NFL, Norman Rockwell Museum, Oracle, Airbnb and many others. His professional journey started with living at a meditation and martial arts school in Asia, which led to work through social impact and the arts. Brenton has been an artist-in-residence at collectives worldwide and serves as a curator for multiple journals and events. He is a Moth story slam champion and a proud member of Playback Theatre West & Storytellers Acapella, He believes truth can be found at the intersection of disciplines and stories.
What Can I Do?
- Event Rap-Up
- Songwriting + Custom Raps
Songwriting and Custom Raps
Teaching is at the core of my work and identity. I worked in private education for many years and whether it was a lesson on calculus or improvisational acting, I always incorporated music and freestyle into my lessons. Now I take the tenets of freestyle and improv in workshops all around the world
I recently co-hosted a workshop with a longtime friend on the neuroscience of freestyle rap and improvisation on Interintellect — a conversation forum hosting the most interesting conversations on the internet.
The world in the next few decades will look almost immeasurably different from today. More professionals will require lateral thinking to thrive.
So how do we cultivate a sense of mental flexibility? Freestyle rap and other forms of improvisation activate the medial prefrontal cortex, which is designed for building associative context between concepts, time and memories, Improvisation also turns off the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is designed for limited attention and self-judgment.
To answer this question, we led a group of neuroscientists, technologists, researchers and writers through improvisation and freestyle, sharing research and then going into a salon format about how improvisational thinking can help us meet the challenges of the future.
“One of the most fun Zoom experiences I've ever had”TimParticipant