Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I've also been breaking things: the gut holding the tail piece of my bass just broke so the bridge is sitting on my table right now, I broke my phone and so lost 2 years worth of numbers, I broke the chair in the living room (admittedly it was broken when I found it, but I repaired it with wood glue and now it is MORE broken) and burned my finger with steam while making lunch today.
All in all it's probably a wash in the productivity v. destruction sweepstakes.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
"For Jaques Dalcroze and for Orff, rhythm is unquestionably the most important element, the foundation of all musical composition and all artistic works. It is not surprising, then, that they both use physical movement as a basis for music education. In the Orff approach, however, movement is not the only medium of choice; language is also fundamental in learning rhythm, perhaps even more important than movement. Kodaly, however, tended to emphasise the melodic component by developing a pitch discrimination, a melodic ear, and inner hearing. It is not surprising that he favored singing as the preeminent medium for music education."Now, I don't know how helpful that description is for you, but it was brilliant for me. The workshop was run by a delightful German man named Rodrigo who spent most of the workshop being both incredibly silly and incredibly tactile. (Do German's have a smaller personal bubble than the Brits? I kind of suspect not and blame his lack of one and willingness to invade others' on his Portuguese background.) We learned a number songs from around the world and he did an excellent job of teaching us the songs in small and fun steps so that we were playing games and enjoying ourselves, but also repeating the songs again and again and again without getting bored.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Did I mention that Meredith rented a car? She had to get to a rehearsal in Brighton on Monday so it made sense to get a car that would also help us all to get around and to pick people up as they arrived at the train station. We figured it would be a good idea to get the dent insurance because they upgraded her to a Mercedes Benz (the only automatic they had available) and as a special deal that meant that she could add a second driver for free.
I DROVE ON THE LEFT! IN A MERCEDES! IN THE COUNTRYSIDE! AND IT WAS AWESOME!!!
(I love driving.)
(These pictures have nothing to do with the driving. Except that the way I felt at the end of the gruelling six hour hike/ramble? Similar to the way I felt after driving successfully through teeny tiny country roads without hitting anything or anyone. So this is a tangentially related picture.)
Friday, June 18, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
At one point I was telling someone about the improv choir that I did this weekend, and I think was also drawing parallels between what we were doing and contact improvisation. They asked if I had had an abnormally structured childhood...
Monday, June 7, 2010
Ella’s mum Jilly is running an improvisation choir in London and they had their second rehearsal/meet up on Sunday so I went along. It’s been a while since I’ve done free improv with people and it was a lot of fun to do it again. Especially since I figured out how to belt in my lesson with Jilly on Wednesday so I can get LOUD now. Whee!
There were about 8 of us there, and I gather that there was only about a 50% overlap between this week and last time so the full group is a bit bigger than that. We spent the beginning playing with a lot of different sorts of sounds starting with things like growling and then moving that into pitched sound while keeping the same level of energy and tone colour. We did one free improvisation and discussed it afterwards, noticing that we felt like we wanted to move more. So that was the next aspect we added to it- each sound had to be associated with a movement. We then continued to do improvisations and change the parameters a bit each time to see what came out.
Once we relaxed into it and started playing with what we were doing it was really fun. One woman, a puppeteer, and I ended up trading places a bunch and the whole group was doing a great job of listening and joining in with what was being offered. At one point we were clearly in a jungle with a number of monkeys, some birds, and wind blowing through trees. At another point one woman crouched down into the middle of the circle and started intensely speaking the words “Once upon a time” and the group immediately hushed and created this spooky, magical soundscape.
The fun thing about voices is that there is nothing between you and the sound- so things can change instantly and you don’t need to worry about the right pitch or technique or anything like that. Voices are available and just there in a way that instruments are not necessarily.
People were being both bold and generous with their offerings to the group and it was a pleasure to work with them. Four of us went out for drinks and a snack after the rehearsal and chatted about the experience and what we were looking for/what Jilly was looking for out of the group. It was interesting and the sort of conversation that I haven’t had in a while.
Last week Meredith and I were discussing what it had been like to create my final project from last year and what we thought went well and how we would do things differently now. Again- I hadn’t talked like that in a long time, and it was nice. I miss talking analytically about artistic processes.
I need to make something soon...
There has been a lovely stretch of gorgeous weather this week. Doubly nice as it has been half term this week so other people also had time off and there were activities going on. On Saturday I was down in Brockley with some of the fire-hazard folks to run games at the summer fete/festival they had going on. Perfect weather for a community festival. And for running around barefoot in the grass.
Fire-hazard's target audience is usually young professionals without kids who are looking for something unusual, active, and somewhat silly to do. The festival? Was filled with toddlers and adults who were just chilling out and listening to the music. Not a lot of adults looking to run around (did I mention it's been hot? It was hot) and many of the children were far too small to be involved either.
Giving it a go anyway, we set up an obstacle course with bits of rug, cones, a handy bench, and three big yoga balls. The idea was that you had to get through the course without touching the grass (it was lava you see), get to the inflatable sword at the end of the course, and then get back again all without being hit by the roving lava balls (yoga balls) or the rock giant (one of the team with an inflatable axe). It was pretty fun and we were having a good time with it.
Every once in a while we'd get a curious kid staring at us or starting to do the course and then I would try to corral the other children who kept stealing the yoga balls to roll them towards the runner. I think we only had three people who weren't from fire-hazard run the course.
There started to be some trouble with the yoga ball stealing children throwing the yoga balls too hard at passing strangers, so being the responsible adult that I am and the only member of the team that was not actively afraid of children I hollered at them all and made a big circle out of red cones and codified the game that they were already playing- which is to say "tag" where whoever was "it" was running away and you tried to hit them with the giant rubber balls so that you could be "it" next. No throwing, only rolling, and no going outside of the cones. Harumph.
We played that for quite a while (me and the kids; the rest of the fire-hazard team was refining the lava game) and then I was losing them and the balls again so we played something called "Manhunt" which is hide and seek and tag combined into one game. I made the other fire-hazard folks put up a boundary perimeter of cones that included a big area to run in and some trees for cover. Each of the kids got a neon yellow arm band and 10 seconds to run and hide. At which point I sauntered over to the one place that they actually could hide and managed to get three of them before they could run away. When you got tagged you gave up your yellow arm band and started running after the others. Last one with the arm band still on wins.
After that game ended we packed up and went off to enjoy the rest of the festival figuring that we had dispensed with our duty. It would help next time if we all had fire-hazard T-shirts and if there were some official looking signs. In spite of the announcement from the stage I think one of the big problems was that people couldn't tell if we were part of the festival or just a bunch of people having a silly looking picnic.
We played manhunt again with just the five of us later that afternoon. It was fun figuring out how to hide in a huge group of people and how to get away without running and freaking out the rest of the people innocently hanging out at the festival. (Most importantly- I won. Remember how everyone else is freaked out by kids? I found the highest concentration of children that I could and so spent most of the game making things out of pipe cleaners in the crafts tent and keeping an eye on where the rest of the players were out of the corner of my eye. They never even looked for me there.)