Improv Class in Nova Scotia

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailIt’s been a busy summer – 5 weeks away from home. Two weeks at horn camp in New Hampshire and almost three weeks in Nova Scotia. It’s nice to be home, but I enjoyed my time greatly both places. I’ve talked about it here before, but I want to briefly talk about my time teaching at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS.

The wondrous and amazing Ardith Haley, with music ed rock star Dale Lonis were the instigators of this unique course at Acadia. It’s a 2-year masters of music education program that is done mostly through distance learning, with 2 – two week residency sessions (each July) over the two year period of the course. The participants are are all seasoned music teachers, ranging in age (guessing) from late 20’s to late 50’s; they teach all kinds of music – classroom music, band, orchestra, elementary to high school. They are almost all Canadian, mostly from the eastern end of the country, but a few from the middle and west.

My course for this cohort of 15 consisted of 3 hours a day doing nonjazz improvisation. Teaching this group was not like teaching the students back home at the University of Iowa. These folks are professionals – they do music and teach music for a living. They have great attitudes and they learn fast. Thus, it was a supreme treat for me to work with people like this. The only tricky part is the part that they share with anyone doing improv for the first time – they are very apprehensive about it (I was, too) at first.

Continue reading


Cutting Edge in Nova Scotia

[This is a slightly edited re-post from Horn Insights]

Let’s get this out of the way up front: I’m in love. I don’t know how else to describe my wonderful time last week in Nova Scotia, my first visit to this splendid province.

I was asked by the music educators of NS to give the keynote address at their annual music educator’s conference in Antigonish at the end of October, as well as to do some presentations. The reason they asked me was because they started working on a new curriculum for band Gr. 7-12 about four years ago. Ardith Haley, Arts Educational consultant in the NS Dept. of Education and one of the central figures involved in writing the new curriculum, was at the Midwest Band Clinic at that time and happened to stop by the booth of GIA Music. GIA had just published my book Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians. Ardith examined a copy and decided that this was just what they needed for the new curriculum. They wanted to include improvisation and composition in the new curriculum, but they hadn’t found any material out there that addressed their needs until the moment that Ardith picked up my book.

Continue reading