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Re: Tapping into your musical/improvisational ideas and skills for my classroom!

Hi Margaret

I'm in one of those odd blips where I have some time and your query sparked my motor so...

I think the human voice is the ultimate axe. Anyone can make vocal sound. It can be anything from grunts to singing to noises etc.

If you have digital editing capacity you can fiddle with pitch, reversing, cutting words up, making harmony...

Have kids make the sound of moods, colors, planets and stars etc. Express being a kid like never before!

I know from my studio that it ALWAYS blows kids minds when you do a little voice blip and then scratch it rap style or mangle it.

Voices are cheap and the ultimate tool of expression

Have groups make group sounds.

Back in the 60's there was a big movement - I think called 'treated voices' that was REALLY COOL with voices doing non voice like things. It was very experimental stuff. Some of the college jazz acapella choirs are now doing stuff like that and it's very cool. And it's very popular in those schools too.

You could create a drum bed and sync the voice / noises to the beat.

You could, of course, do the drums with the voice.

I like it because it would be relatively easy to do and bring fairly immediate results.

Do an opera! Obviously, NOT Mozart or Hair. An arty opera. Just thinking out loud.

The first barrier will be them wanting to sing pop songs. But that could be turned around too.

Okay... I gotta get back to work. I hope I've understood your quest.... but it sounds like some kind of product might be a good goal.

A CD at the end of ten weeks?

all the beast

richard sales
glassWing farm and studio
vancouver island, b.c.
www.glassWing.com www.richardsales.com
www.hayleysales.com www.joannesales.com

On 16-Aug-08, at 12:16 PM, margaret noble wrote:

Hello Live Looper List!

This is Margaret here, I chime in from time to time and am very much looking forward to Y2K8 this October!

In order addition to working as an artist, I teach high school. This is my second year and my bread and butter, the good news is that I love my job. I am designated as the sound production and digital arts instructor. My school is founded on project based learning, it is free to students and functions as a charter school. If you are curious about the school, here is the link:


So, why am I reaching out to you all?

Basically, I have free reign with my curriculum. I am about to start a 10 week class with a group of 25 tenth graders. I want to focus exclusively on sound, listening and musical movements (no visual content). I plan on screening lots of documentaries and presenting listening exercises for exposure and dialog. Additionally, I want to have morning group improvisational exercises. Maybe 5 minutes or so of performance, then record it and play it back to class. It assumed that most  (maybe all) students have absolutely no musical training thus the goal is to create exercises where success is easy for the newbie. It is also assumed that these kids definitely will have moments of shyness and/or pressure to be cool thus  anything that goes too far might be rejected.

Here are some ideas I have for tools (suggestions, recommendations based on super low budget please):

- Having the students craft very cheap tonal single notes from pipes for a tonal tool and having them create an atonal percussive instrument (like shakers).

- Sending an audio out from every classroom computer/midi controller to a central mixer for computer based sounds improvisational exercises.

Now exercises: this is where I need alot of help with:

- I am  thinking of hybrid versions of Steve Reich's • Music for 18 Musicians


And just to throw one more curve ball out when considering this course, I am no musical expert and have been getting by  with production more than musicianship for my work.

Ok, so there it is! I am looking for your input on listening exercises (musical and purely sound-art), instrument construction, improvisational warm-ups and even performance or recording projects.

Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you all!!!!!