For starters, I thought it would be nice to share out some great recordings of different instrumental ensembles. Listening to musicians play YOUR instrument at a very high level can help develop your own understanding of characteristic sound.
TUESDAY 9/5 (A)
THURSDAY 9/7 (A)
Next week... the closer!
Here is a little inspiration as you work on your non-standard notation compositions. Remember, 4 measure melody using "standard notation", and then invent/design/create a non-standard notation system represent your original melody.
A 12-year-old can do it
John Teske, Six Graphic Scores
Michael Colgrass is one of the most relevant, interesting, and engaging composers that I can think of - and I've never met him. I've only played his music, studied his music, and read about his life. Below are a few short clips that I know you will really enjoy. Michael is real and human - he is just like us. Born in the Midwest, finding music at a young age, and working at it.
Varsity Band is currently working on Old Churches, a great aleatoric piece by Michael Colgrass. Watch this short 3-minute excerpt from an upcoming documentary about Colgrass. In this video he describes his time living in the Arctic and his approach to composition based on real life experiences.
Did you know Michael wrote a ballet overnight?
Michael also performed on the landmark recording "Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky", a record which barely happened and ended up being launched into space.
If you are looking for help on getting started with your non-standard notation composition, here is a short video of Michael working with some middle school students on graphic notation. Rule #1: Don't be afraid to try anything!
Mother Earth was composed for the South Dearborn High School Band of Aurora, Indiana, Brian Silvey, conductor. The commission was for a three-minute fanfare piece. Each piece takes on a reason for being all its own, and Mother Earth is no exception. It became an urgent message from Our Mother to treat her more kindly! My reading at the time of writing this music was For a Future to be Possible by the Vietnamese monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. He believes that the only way forward is to be extremely alive and aware in our present moment, to become awake to the needs of our beloved planet, and to respond to it as a living entity. Music making allows us to come immediately awake. It is an instant connection to the powerful wellspring of our creativity, and opens our minds to the solution of any number of problems, including that of our damaged environment. My little piece does not solve the problem! But it is a living call to the wide-awake life, and it continues to be performed by young people around the world.
David Maslanka (born 1943) is an American composer whose cerebral music ranges from chamber music miniatures to large, epic symphonies. Born in New Bedford, MA, Maslanka studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (including a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum) and with H. Owen Reed at Michigan State University. He spent his early career teaching at several institutions before dedicating himself solely to composition in 1990. He has won several awards for his music, and he works solely on commission. His compositions for wind band have won him particular acclaim, including more than a dozen concertos, seven symphonies (plus two more for orchestra), and several concert pieces, including A Child’s Garden of Dreams.
Here is a short interview with David Maslanka and his thoughts on music and composing.
Additionally, you will never regret listening to Maslanka's Requiem.
Varsity Band spent some time in sectionals looking at Old Churches by Michael Colgrass, and then today sight-read through the piece as an ensemble for the first time.
Over our next few rehearsals we are going to be looking at different types of notation systems. Did you know that music hasn't always been written on the 5 line staff?
There are two videos that I'd like you to check out to help extend your understanding, both of different notation systems, but also related to how polyphony developed. You should watch them before next week, so that you can have a leg up in rehearsal.
This blog is intended to serve as a collection of announcements and information for current students and their families.