06/7/14

Improv Quote of the Day: Learn Improv Early!

Jess at her Concert

Jess at her Concert (Photo credit: reutC)

Improvisation is a music skill that should be developed along with performing, listening, and analyzing because it synthesizes all these areas. Its practice, which can start at the earliest stages of music learning, encourages the exploration and discovery of music-making and gives the satisfaction of manipulating music elements without the restriction of the written page.

 

–Marta Sanchez, pianist, director of Dalcroze training program, Carnegie Mellon University

 

 

 

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05/28/14

The Ethos Collective – classical improv ensemble

English: View of downtown Vancouver from the L...

Downtown Vancouver

I just discovered the Vancouver-based classical improvisation ensemble The Ethos Collective via an article in the Vancouver Observer. Wonderful, fresh, refreshing stuff! Take a look at their web site for more information, and better, more videos. Here is one to give a taste:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05/20/14

One Road to Improv: the Tongue Drum

Can you name the item

(Photo credit: willapalens)

The best way for beginners to start improvising is to play simple percussion. You can start right now, tapping on anything, although it is nice to have a mentor to show you ways to acquire skills and provide examples of interesting rhythms and use of accents, meters, timbres, etc. YouTube has an endless supply of all kinds of instruments, rhythms, timbres, ensembles, etc. You don’t need anything fancy – a tabletop or some cardboard boxes will do just fine, but it is also a pleasure to have some real instruments to play as well.

My second favorite percussion instrument (first place: the djembe) is the tongue (or slit) drum. They are not terribly cheap, but you can make fascinating rhythmic patterns with them very easily – the different “tones” add a touch of pitch variety. Note: I am referring here only to wooden ones; there is another class of metal tongue drums – we’ll take that up another time.

Listen to this nicely recorded performance of Tyrone Douglas playing 3 tongue drums:

Chmiller912 gives a terrific performance on a single tongue drum tuned to F minor pentatonic (3:10):

 

Steve Carmichael show us how to make your own tongue drum in this video (17:30). Thanks, Steve!

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05/18/14

Byrne Quote #2

Phonographs

 (Photo credit: trp0)

p. 290 (Ch. 9 – Amateurs): In his book Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music, Mark Katz explains that prior to 1900, the aim of music education “was to teach students how to make make music.” The advent of the record player and recorded music in the early 20th century changed all that.

p. 291 In the modern age, though, people have come to feel that art and music are the product of individual effort rather than something that emerges from a community. … We often think that we can, and even must, rely on blessed individuals to lead us to some new place, to grace us with their insight and creation – and naturally that person is never us.

…The rise of commercially made recordings accelerated a huge shift in attitudes. Their promulgation meant that the more cosmopolitan music of folks who lived in the big cities (the music of professionals), and even the professional musicians in far-off countries could now be heard everywhere. Amateurs and local music makers music have been somewhere intimidated.

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05/17/14

Byrne’s Book – How Music Works – Quote #1

English: David Byrne playing at Austin City Li...

English: David Byrne playing at Austin City Limits 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been reading a fascinating book by Talking Heads star David Byrne: How Music Works. 358 thoughtfully written and researched pages, plus Acknowledgements, Footnotes, Suggested Readings, and Discography. Byrne has done his homework and writes engagingly about the creation of music, both his own and about many styles and genres, including pop and classical. I like the book so much that I have made it a required text for my fall course for non majors, Creativity in Music (i.e. where music comes from: improvisation and composition). I want to share in successive quotes some of Byrne’s thoughts on the subject. Here’s the first one, from Chapter Nine, Amateurs!
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Soundpainting #14: The Space Between

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNZbfBxIsLc?rel=0&w=420&h=315]...

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Tag: evan-mazunik, soundpainting

Improv Quote of the Day: Ear & Eye Players

Improv Quote of the Day: Ear & Eye Players

Eye players read music. Ear players improvise. Today’s students need instruction in both. Why?...

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Tag: bradley-sowash, classical-improvisation, improv-quote, improvisation, playing-by-ear

Improv Quote of the Day: Narrowing the Gap

Improv Quote of the Day: Narrowing the Gap

When improvisation regains its former position at the centre of Classical music-making, perhaps the...

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Tag: improv-quote, improvisation, robert-levin

Improv Quote of the Day: Connecting Practice and Feelings

Improv Quote of the Day: Connecting Practice and Feelings

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="(Photo credit: moirabot)"][/caption] Today...

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Tag: improvisation, julie-lyonn-lieberman, practice

Improv Quote of the Day: Good ––> Outstanding

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="185"] Improvisation (Photo credit: Dave Kleinschmidt)[/capt...

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Tag: aural-training, classical-music, improv-games-2, improv-quote, improvisation, music, nicole-brockmann, sight-singing