07/22/14

Santana on Improvisation

English: its an image of Carlos Santana Españo...

Certain people are very mental. They need to have rules and concepts and directions and scales and theory in order to play. But that’s not what music is about. Music has the same significance as beams of light coming out of the clouds and giving information to plants. Every note should be like a beam of light. You’re giving information to the listener, and you’re reminding them they also have light and significance. That’s improvising to me. The other stuff is just like going ‘da-da-da-da-da.’ It’s nothing” – Carlos Santana

 

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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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Hanging Out

Hanging Out

I ran across this mesmerizing video this morning of virtuoso Hang drum players Danny Cudd and Ma...

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Tag: danny-cudd, djembe, hang-drum, hang-massive, hapi-drum, improvisation, markus-johansson, milltone-drum, rachel-payne, rhythm, switzerland, zen-tambour

How to Make America Innovative, Competitive, and Prosperous

How to Make America Innovative, Competitive, and Prosperous

That Great Candy Store that is the internet is alternately an Intergalactic Level time waster and ...

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Tag: arts-education, creativity

Notes on Improv Class: Valentines Day '13

A couple more notes on our activities in this semesters improv class (Improvisation for Classica...

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Tag: classical-improvisation, improvisation, improvisation-class, improvisation-exercises

Soundpainting #4: Minuet for Mortimer

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPUcKrv38mU&w=420&h=315]...

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Tag: evan-mazunik, soundpainting

Improv Quote of the Day: Perfectly normal

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240"] (Photo credit: FontFont)[/caption] Improvisation m...

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Tag: children-improvising, improvisation, stephen-nachmanovitch