CAL Team Blogs
I can hardly believe we only have one more week of Between the Lines. Molly and I are going to miss y’all like crazy!
This week was one of our favorites of the summer – we talked all about orchestras, which Molly and I both love to listen to and play in! Your kids learned that orchestras are big groups of people who play music together. We listened to some awesome orchestra music that made us imagine and feel all kinds of things.
To see first hand how an orchestra works, we decided to make our own – right at BTL! As the kids learned, orchestras are made up of four “sections” (strings, winds, brass, and percussion) and each section is made of of specific instruments. So we also split up into four sections, and assigned ourselves the names of the orchestra sections. Just like a real orchestra, we learned to follow our “conductor” (and we saw just how tricky that can sometimes be!) in a big game of musical “simon says”.
To learn more about the instruments in each section of an orchestra, we read one of our favorite musical books – “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!”. Then we got to see some of the instruments in the book up close! Our awesome friend Paul played his violin for us, and let your kids try it out for themselves. We also saw the viola, the cello, and the harp, among others!
Finally, we learned about one piece of orchestra music up close – the Firebird Suite, by Igor Stravinsky. The Firebird Suite is based on a beautiful Russian fairy tale, which we read and acted out together. We listened to the piece as well, and looked at visual artists’ interpretations of the characters and scenes. Then we crafted our own versions of characters from the story out of Model Magic clay.
Of course, there was also a Firebird snack to reward us for all our hard work… Molly and I made “Firebird Tails” out of chocolate-covered Oreo cookies – yum!
To wrap up, as always, here’s the next verse of our song:
Turn on the lights and give an “A”
It’s an orchestra – hooray!
Winds, percussion, brass and strings
Play all sorts of awesome things!
Turn on the lights, its time to start!
Listen for each special part!
We hope to see you all on Wednesday for our finale lesson! Have a musical week!
Lots of love,
We will be mainly asking questions in order to get to know a little more about you. We would also like to hear if you have any particular stories from your past about any subject matter that really stands out to you. We would also like to get a sense of what music means to you and what role it has played in your life. Since it has played a large part in our lives, we find it interesting to see what impact music has and can make on others. We will try to ask questions not to find out specific details, rather open up a conversation to enhance our communication through music, as well as through words and stories.
We will be using volunteers for the interviews and we will try to interview as many of them as we can. The interviews will be about 25min.-30min. long. We will be recording the interviews with flip cams. An important thing to consider, should we interview many people in one room at a time to relieve the stress level, but risk the background noise, or should we have potentially awkward interviews in a room with only two people? If we choose the large room, that could be either the library or the room across the lobby from the library. I don’t know where we could have the one on one interviews. Please post any opinions on how this should be done, and remember, this is not yet official.
At the beginning of the conversation we should establish that these are informal ways to facilitate conversation since we have really enjoyed talking we with them at our concerts and want to take conversation a step further.
Where are you from?
When did you come to America (if from another country)?
How long have you been at the Goddard House? What has your experience been like here?
Why did you choose Goddard House?
How do you think your childhood was different than ours?
Who has made a significant impact on your life? (Add our personal opinions)
If you could go back and change something about your past what would it be?
We want to learn from you, is there any advice you have for us based on your personal experiences?
What role has music had in your life?
How do you think music has impacted you?
What impact do you think music can have? (Add our personal views here)
What were you very passionate about at our age? (music, something of interest)
If anyone has anything else to add just write it in the comments!
So in the last few days I have been contacting local colleges, conservatories, and music programs to try and find one or a few people that might like to come in a talk to the kids at RH. They could talk about why they chose music and what it means to them etc.
So far I have responses from…
- NorthEastern U. Referred to someone
- NEC, also referred
- and Harvard- asked students and other faculty and also referred me to a program at Harvard for Boston music outreach
Linda, Johana, Greg, Brian and RadioWAVES gathered together at FTT’s office yesterday. We reflected on the first half of the year and drafted a tentative plan for the upcoming months. One of the major goals for the meeting is to think concretely and realistically and develop a strategy that is both manageable and effective.
The major change in our project plan is to identity a core group of 10 to 15 Roland Hayes students, who are ready, willing and able to benefit from additional support from RadioWAVES. We aim to work with them exclusively in the upcoming months in the hope that they will develop a sense of ownership of and affect change in their music community.
Our strategy: combine the use of technology and in-person interactions to build relationship with the 10-15.
September 25: create a Roland Hayes Facebook Fan Page and edit our RadioWAVEVS Group Page, upload individual introduction videos to our Group Page.
September 26: Eric’s visit to Roland Hayes, introducing the Fan Page and Group Page, extend invitations to the 10-15 to our network and encourage them to share something about themselves, ask them to fill out a poll regarding availability and preference.
September 27-30: dividing the 10-15 into 4 or 5 groups and matching them with arts leaders, getting to know each other!
October 2: FTT show at 2, face-to-face interaction with the 10-15.
On September 24th, we had our first working meeting back from the summer. And boy did we get a lot of work done! Not only did the team get together (minus Clifton), but we were fortunate to meet with Greg and Brian! Linda and Johana joined us as well! We all got together at the From the Top offices and got cracking. We reflected on the first half and discussed some of thing new developments that have surfaced. Many good ideas were thrown and the energy was rekindled. After a few ours of discussing new ideas and new approaces, we modified our original project plan to something that we feel is a bit more realistic and easier to manage.
We originally wanted to approach the project from two angles. One was to work with the students to have them develop a sense of ownership and pride for the Roland Hayes. The other approach was to reach out to the community and community leaders and build with them a strong relationship with the school.
After working on the project for half a year we decided that we need to rearrange where we put our focus. We decided to focus on a smaller group of students from the Roland Hayes than what we originally started working with. We feel that it would be extremely beneficial to the Roland Hayes to work with the students that are already passionate and have them help with getting recognition for the school and inspiring their fellow students to follow suit. We are also changing how we get the name of the school out. We decided to do more work on line. We will be creating a facebook fan page to reach out to everyone we know, and give the online community news and updates of whats going on at the Roland Hayes. We will also be working with the students through a closed facebook group to communicate with each other and share our thoughts in a safe and familiar setting.
We feel that after working with the Roland Hayes for the first half of the year, this will be the ideal approach to helping the Roland Hayes and also inspiring the community it is in.
Along with having orchestra at FYO, we rehearsed chamber music one hour a day. I was in a trombone duet with Mei Endo. We played a version of La Nozze de Figaro by Mozart. It was really fun, but a really challenging piece. Our concert was on the 28th of July, a day before the orchestra concert. We did do a lot of serious work on the piece, but Mei and I also played around a lot during our breaks, finding out who could make the weirdest sounds with the trombone and playing around with different mutes. I had a great time in that duet and I improved a lot in that duet. That is the only trombone duet that I have ever preformed.
This summer from 7/11 to 7/29, I was involved in Festival Youth Orchestra (FYO) at New England Conservatory. We rehearsed with the full orchestra for five hours a day and rehearsed in sectionals for one hour a day. Aaron Kula, our conductor, was AMAZING!! He was so much fun. In orchestra we played Brahms’ 2nd symphony, An American in Paris by George Gershwin and Bernstein’s Candide Overture. They were so much fun. Our trombone instructor, Alexi Doohovskoy, was awesome and I had tons of fun in trombone sectionals with him and the other trombones. It was my first experience playing in an orchestra so it was awesome for me. Each of our pieces was completely different so I developed many new skills while playing there. My favorite piece was An American in Paris. It was nice and jazzy and everyone got a feature. I had a blast there and I met quite a few new friends there.
Excited about Goddard House: Part II. There have got to be a ton of stories to tell from the summer. I am looking forward to it and I know the residents are looking forward to it.
I finished up my last Tanglewood project on Saturday. It was called the “Piece-a-Day” project. It had each of the composition fellows writing a three pieces, one each day. I was assigned to play with a trumpet player for six pieces. We learned the music and put the pieces together in a week and stepped out on the stage and played them. It was really cool getting to know each of the composers through that process. Because of the time constraints, everyone was forced to do what came naturally – we couldn’t prepare very thoroughly. So the composers had to let their ideas flow when they wrote them and Mark, the trumpet-player, and I had to let the rehearsal process flow. It’s freeing, in a way because there is simply no time to let any kinds of doubt or hesitancy creep. Just gotta go for it!
I’m spending some time now, while I still am staying in the beautiful Berkshire area thinking over some big concepts. Came up against some interesting questions (and for once, I’m not immediately trying to answer them). Take this one:
We all can identify when a musician gives an authentic and moving performance. What does this represent? How can a performer, who is merely interpreting someone else’s ideas, deliver such a performance? What is the meaning of interpretation of music? What does it mean to communicate in your own voice as a performer?
It has led me to look at communication as a two-way experience. Interpretation involves relating the composer’s ideas to your own life-experience, digesting it, and sharing it with someone else. I think authenticity can lie in the depth of that digestion and the performer’s courage in opening it up to someone else.
A mentor of mine here in the Berkshires told me this: You do not truly understand, unless you are confused.
Grappling with ideas is the best part of the game!
I am writing you from a small, quaint house in Stockbridge, MA where I will be staying through the end of August. This summer, I was invited to play new music at the Tanglewood Music Center as a member of the “New Fromm Players.” As such, I am living with three other string players in the program. Our house are a short walk the historic main street of Stockbridge made famous by this drawing by Norman Rockwell:
Of course, it is far from winter here right now (95* at night?!) and there is certainly no snow on the ground but the picture does capture the unfading charm of Stockbridge. There is a wonderful sense of calm here. It is quiet and secluded and we are surrounded by nature. It is a great place to immerse yourself in your work.
We have a big load of contemporary chamber music to prepare and perform. Over the course of the summer, we are playing music by Ligeti, Babbitt, Schoenberg, Wuorinen, Stravinsky, and a few young composition fellows. The earliest piece we are playing was written in 1906 and the most recent piece was completed a few months ago. It has been really fascinating to survey the wide variety of music that has been written in the past 100 years. It presents a unique challenge to us as the performers. With each piece, you need to not only figure out how to technique produce the sounds, but you have to really get into the head of the composer. You have to learn what is important to them, where their priorities lie. Some are concerned solely with creating captivating textures and colors while others want very precise and complicated rhythmic patterns. Its a bit like trying to speak a different language at each rehearsal.
It has felt like a challenge to pull off all of this new music. It is something I have not done so much before. When we stepped out on stage and played the Ligeti quartet we had worked on for hours and hours and hours, it was almost a shock to realize we could play it!
Anyway, just wanted to say hello and tell you a little of what i have been up to. CAL team I miss you! I hope you guys are having a great time with the summer so far. Where are the pictures? I want to hear some stories!
A shot of one of our quartet performances.
After a concert, I got a chance to check out this awesome hiking trail on Monument Mountain.
Looking forward to hearing from you guys soon!
Recently, I just returned from an amazing two-week vacation in Austria. My family and I visited Vienna, Salzburg, Dorfgastein, Linz and Melk over the two weeks, along with one night in Bratislava for the opera “Carmen”. The food there was awesome! The pastries there were heavenly, and we didn’t have one bad meal. The Alps were awesome and much greener than the Rockies, but to be fair I’ve only seen the Rockies in the middle of winter while skiing on them. In Austria, one of the coolest places we went to was the “Haus der Musik”. This museum has four floors, each of them a different theme. The first floor was devoted to the Vienna Philharmonic and the third floor was devoted to the multiple famous Viennese composers. These floors were very interesting and filled with information, but it was the second and fourth floor that were amazing to me. The second floor is the “sonosphere”. In the sonosphere there are multiple different exhibits all about how the brain works to interpret sounds and some weird ways to confuse your brain with noise. The fourth floor is called the “Brain Opera”. It was designed by MIT students and what I thought was so cool about the Brain Opera was how everything was connected together. For example, if someone submits a sound in one exhibit, they can then control an instrument that uses multiple different submitted sounds in another exhibit. Everything about the museum was very up to date in technology and they had several instruments that you could control without actually touching anything. The Haus der Musik was awesome, along with basically everything else about my Austria trip. It was so much fun!