This is cool.
This was an interesting listen as I am planning my music classes for the new school year. Especially as I plan to include topics related to diversity, equity and inclusivity. How equitable is education right now for all of the stake holders?
Lately my listening has been divided between several curiosities, modern classical music and Afro-Caribbean music. Sometimes these make for weird listening combinations, but that’s just where my head is at this moment. Along with those interests, I often take time to look into my origins as a son of Dominican parents and explore a bit more of my history. When I take this time to expand my understanding of the Dominican Republic, I tend to keep a running interest in the music that happens to be on my mind. Often these two things run parallel to one another and are compartmentalized, so each has it’s special place and feeling in me.
However, sometimes these ideas run into each other, that’s when I start to ask the “what if” questions. What if this composer wrote a piece for that ensemble? What kind of project would those artist create? Could these groups work together? What would that sound be? Right now I have these two sounds in my ear. I love them both and want to hear them work together. The vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, and a band from Santo Domingo called SonAbril. Crazy, Right!?
Imagine if Roomful of Teeth arranged a piece by SonAbril? Perhaps William Brittelle could be commissioned to write a piece for SonAbril. These are just thoughts, but it might be a wild set of collaborations. Check out these two tunes, and wonder for yourself.
I saw this and thought it should be shared.
My viewing habits on streaming sites like Netflix have been varied the past few months, but after reading a NY Times article, I realize that I binge watch more than just sci-fi movies and shows. I get caught up into music documentaries and watch three or four in a sitting. The latest have been a series of blues and hip-hop documentary.
I’ve managed to used some of these movies as part of my classes as well. My students seem to like them and they are a good jumping off point as points of conversations. Here is the latest one to capture my attention.
However if you are into reading about some of the other great music documentaries, the ones listed in this NY Times article is a good place to start.
I didn’t feel the need to keep a day by day accounting of the album covers I chose like in the previous post, however, I think I will mention the combination of day 2 and day 3, and why they struck me as significant. Significant in part because they were both introductions to several aspects of music for me. Coincidentally both of these albums found their way to me around the same time.
In the case of the Low End Theory; yes it was a big deal for me culturally because I was a teenager growing up in NYC, and I was starting to form my own opinions about Hip-hop. From my teenage point of view, I started down an explorations of sounds from this album which enviably led to a greater appreciation of jazz. Which is not difficult to hear in tracks like “We Got The Jazz”. I didn’t see it then, but the intersectionality of both of these forms of music is why I still listen to both genres today.
The other album covers is about the first brass quintet in saw live. The American Brass Quintet often performed recitals around NYC. My trumpet teacher at the time insisted her studio go to Lincoln Center to listen, learn, and enjoy. I remember hearing Ewald, an arrangement of Elizabethan music, Eric Ewazen, and perhaps some Gunther Schuller.
In any case, I became an instant fan of the group and soon after saving up some cash to buy their album. I can point to that concert as the inception of my love for brass chamber music, and my obsession with brass quintet literature.
We’ve all seen social media challenges. The idea is to record yourself doing something which will draw attention somehow. I first one of these I can remember is the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS and the Movember for prostate cancer. Some of these challenges are for good causes. I was recently nominated to participate in the 10 day challenge on Facebook.
The idea is to show one album cover a day for ten days that influenced me. This may raise awareness of an artist or just remind us to appreciate the music that helped shape us into the people or artists we are today.
As part of my first day in this challenge, I showed the cover to “Chuck Mangione Concert Land of Make Believe“. I remember picking up this album on CD sometime in 1990. Land of Make Believe was a tune my junior high school marching band played and I was still fond of the song at that time. A simple bassline and a singable melody, which would immediately turn into an earworm.
I remember not wanting anyone to know I listened to this album. I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. Perhaps I’ll listen to it tonight.
Close One and Cheers:
Like most Friday’s before a break from school occurs, thing are bound to go wrong. Sometimes it’s students behaving unruly or planned events that disrupt the day, like a class parties. You never know what might come up of these days. Today my “WTF” moment happened due to poor bandwidth.
Now that my kid is also doing school from home, for the foreseeable future and my partner is also working from home, I believe we have met the limits to our wifi home connection. The three of us were working our network as hard as we could. After suffering through several classes with poor connections, where both my kid and I were wondering what was going wrong with our computers. A few dropped meetings later, and then having to reconnect to virtual classroom I worked in all month, it dawned on me that we have never done this at the same time in our home.
We quickly jumped into our prospective computer’s Task Manager & Activity Monitor to figured out what which apps and extensions needed to be running and which did not. This really helped and made it easier to get through our meetings in without disruptions. Soon I’ll need to contact our provider to ask for either more tips or an increase in bandwidth. When I take into consideration that we will be working like this for at least another month, making sure our network can support us, is crucial.
Just when I started to think I was getting the hang of my virtual classrooms, and got too feeling like this is normal. The universe reminded me not to get cocky, and that I am lucky to have the privilege of work from home and still teach music. I’m glad it all worked out, lesson learned.
Now that this week is over, and my school is in spring break, I feel like I can take a moment to reflect on the past three weeks of remote music teaching. However, I’m tired and want to sit and pour myself a sip of scotch. With that tumbler I’d like to toast all the teachers and parents who pulled resources together to provide an educative experience of our kids and students. Who knows, perhaps I’ll have two drinks…
On a typical day I feel like I get to move around a fair amount. With conducting ensembles and moving around campus, I might even say I am very active. On occasion I might get a work out before my day starts. However, since the coronavirus era of teaching started, my movements have been more confined. I move from my bedroom, to the garage to the room in my house which serves as my virtual workstation. A bathroom break every once and again. With the occasional trip to the kitchen for coffee and meals.
My eyes get tired, so I can do several things to help with that part of my virtual experience. My ears get fatigued from wearing headphones for too many hours, so I change my audio situation from cans to speakers now and again. However, the part that is surprising to me, is that my back and legs are sore. To no ones surprise a comfortable chair is an important items needed for this much virtual teaching while sitting. Along with the options of standing or walking while teaching sometimes, might in fact be necessities for this type of work.
II guess moving forward, I’ll have to get specific about changing my routine and perhaps investing in a recliner….for teaching purposes of course.