Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 1 - Afternoon Classes and Day 2

After lunch, everyone had signed up for two afternoon workshops, noting a third if those two choices were full. Luckily, I was able to have both of my first choices: Elemental Composition with Ranier Kotzian and Xylophone Music with Doug Goodkin.
As we came into the composition class, Ranier asked us all by gesturing to join him in a circle. He then told us that he was going to tell a story, some of the things in it were trueand some were not. A truly great story teller, we fell for the story about his missing car, hook, line, and sinker. This led us into learning some small repeated motives (ostinati) and eventually a story sequence. We took this sequence and rearranged it many times, eventually creating our own patterns. We also used these patterns for games and to create our own melodies. Ranier's process is seamless and teaching style is very engaging for us tired adults. I can only imagine how wonderfully it would suit young children. After unpacking everything we had done, we were then off to learn some xylophone music.

In this class, Doug led us through a body percussion piece which morphed into a movement with song from Uganda. It has two layered parts in voice and in movement which made it tricky but very satisfying. After twisting our brains with that, we moved to xylophones with some mallet games to keep us from playing on the instruments before we were prepared. (Teachers in classes are much like the children we teach! Some of us also make horrible students now, as far as being respectful and patient.) Doug then eased us little by little into playin on the instruments with a very engaging action story, which I was excited to experience with him first hand, as I had used it with my students. Luckily, I was not too far off in my interpretation of it.

The day finished out after dinner with a marvelous performance by Keith Terry. Keith is a body musician, body percussionist, etc.; there are many names for what he is doing. His work is jaw dropping, revolutionary and a throw-back to the very first musicians all at the same time. If you get the chance, you should check out his website at www.crosspulse.com Very cool stuff!
Doug Goodkin then talked briefly about the history of jazz, demonstrating with Keith some hambone, juba, and some other jazz pieces and a little about their history.

Instead of just regurgitating anymore about my first day and then about my second, I just want to tell you the biggest thing that I have learned so far: the power of story telling. It has been everywhere! I have been using it for a long time to an extent, but never understood the full weight of its power. I am not just talking about choosing a picture book to pull the story from, but really creating your own stories to frame the concept you are trying to teach your students. The full potential of this tool has come to my attention in a big way this week. I think that this is just one of many valuable lessons I will come to learn and unpack from the Institut.

Coming Tomorrow...
More class observations from Doug, Ranier, Andrea Ostertag, and Keith Terry.
Also, I will post some photos from my first trip to the main city and new ones
from my afternoon tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Ah you are taking me back to a wonderful journey! You are wise to focus more than I did on the concepts. I got so caught up the fascinating people there that I may have missed some content. Sounds like you have some great classes!