Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sound Art

Today marked the first day of mini term at NCSSM. Mini term is a 7 day period when all classes at the school stop so that students can focus on a single course for this short period of time. This year, along with my friend and colleague Adam Sampieri, I will be teaching a course called Sound Art.

In this course we will be encouraging students to think creatively about how they might use recording technology and their imaginations to create generate works of art in the recording medium.  These works may be musical, poetic, dramatic, journalistic, avant-garde or something completely different.  The idea for this course grew from an experience that Adam and I had working with students last year during mini term.  We were working with students on a musical in development entitled "Coal" and spent one particular day work-shopping numerous songs from that musical with our students.  Adam and I perform together regularly and found that creative process with students to be particularly inspiring. As a result, we began considering ways that we might be able to bring that creative energy to students for the entire 9-day mini term.

Today, we introduced the course to our 28 students. We began with introductions and a brief articulation of each individual's dreams and expectations for the upcoming week. We then took a look at the blank canvas of the recording space and I taught the students about a particular mixing theory that draws on the concept of a three-dimensional space as the recording canvas. We listen to a number of examples and began to encourage the students to imagine this three-dimensional space as they listen to music. From there, we introduced the technology and put a recording system into every student's hands. They then had a small multitrack project to complete. From there we began to introduce the software and methods for exercising their creativity within the capabilities of the software.   In many ways, we were setting the technological table for the creative work of the upcoming week.

It was a wonderful first day and I really believe the students left class excited about the week ahead. Tomorrow, we will begin encouraging them to think about their own recording projects and how they might complete them. Its sure to be an exciting week of technology, creativity, and musicianship. I will keep you posted as we take this journey together.



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