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

Forgot to include this - several months ago I started making a list of
all the decent instrumental hip hop albums I could find on emusic. The
"Play" button gives you an mp3 playlist of 30 second samples.


They're not all great, but I'd say more than half have a lot of cool
stuff in 'em. My favorite is "Oxstrumentals" by El-P.


On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 5:29 PM, Matt Davignon <mattdavignon@gmail.com> 
> Hi Margaret,
> Hmmm, since you're working with 10th graders, why not apply these
> ideas to instrumental hip hop? It's very loop-oriented, has a "use
> what's available to you" aesthetic, and there's a good chance more of
> your students will be into it.
> The musicians would engage in building phrases that repeat over the
> course of a song, are musically understandable, but require careful
> listening.
> It'd definitely be useful to get some sort of looping mechanism. It
> sounds like an Ableton Live setup would be ideal, especially if you
> have computers available to you. Then for the rest of the stuff, go
> back to the roots - a cheap old turntable & cd player, various drums &
> resonant objects, guitars with things to 'prepare' them, is there a
> piano in the room?
> You can start off by using things they're used to - lay down a simple
> pulse and have them add things to it. Some other ideas:
> -Having each class member add 1 sound or modification to the loop
> -teaching them how to layer rhythms (for example, in many rap songs,
> the 'snare' sound is a complex layering of several different sounds
> -teach them how to modify sounds once they're already in
> -borrow a drum kit or two for a class and hand a different element to
> each student for a session.
> -adding non-musical elements (like environmental recordings) and
> seeing how they become musical with repetition
> -show 'em some different techniques for playing found objects (the
> rubber ball on a stick for making groaning sounds, suspending
> silverware between styrofoam pieces, etc)
> Listening exercises
> - how do they make that sound?
> - How do the musical phrases change over the course of a song?
> - paying attention to when certain instruments are *not* playing
> - Dynamics! (I attended a great class one time that involved listening
> closely to the dynamic changes of "You lost that lovin' feeling".)
> Then, you can start bringing in the Steve Reich/Terry Riley ideas, and
> they'll probably think it's cool rather than old.
> Matt Davignon
> www.ribosomemusic.com