Re: Tap Theory - March Performances
They all loved it and it's a real mix of kids including musical theater singers, classical violinists, trumpet players and a rock guitarist who wont deviate from the minor pentatonic scale at all! haha
So I only saw the video about 2 hours before the class so I didn't prep as much as I could have once I decided that I would use it as the main focus. Bizarrely I had originally planned for a lesson introducing African Djembe music and the concept of call and response but saw your video and thought no way...they're having some of this!
So anyway, I just played it to them at first (no video) asked them to just take it in. The formula I use for 9th -12th graders when listening to new music is 'Me, Me, Me, Ex, Ex, Ex, Ha, Fo, Sty, Co" It's a chant I get them to learn so when listening to brand new music they learn to focus on
Melody, Medium, Meter, Expression, Texture, Text (if a vocal chart), Harmony, Form, Style, Context...rather then just sitting back and letting wash over them.
So simple questions after the first playing: What do you think? What do you like? What doesn't quite sit right in your ears? Anything significant you want to talk about specifically? And the big one.....what instruments did you hear? (they do know what a Chapman Stick is as I obviously play - as a newbie I should add, i'm a much better trombone player. Plus we also had Steve Adelson in in October doing inprov. workshops and a gig to the whole school.) Anyway, no one said Stick.
2nd playing - with a few more inquiry-led questions this time:
"Talk about the time (signatures and the feel) across the different sections". - with the aim of getting them to spot the 9/4 time sig and then the 4/4 later on, alternating, but also for them to comment on groove, intensity etc
"Describe the 'guitar' melody and how it is structured" - they got this really well, they talked about how the 'descending shape of the tune' (one said it reminded him of the Mission Impossible theme!) then used as a descending sequence 3 times before a quarter note tag brought it back to the top. Then only one spotted the inverted melody shape as an answer to that that phrase.
Then even more open questions like "What happens at 1'04?" They struggled to put into words how you used the same note but on different strings and that the timbre was different from string to string. It made more sense to them when I played them the video at the end!
"What happens at 1'17?" Getting them identifying the now 4/4 time sig, but the busier and heavier drums and as a result the overall upping in intensity.
So this led to a chat about how good music uses tension and release in balanced amounts and we talked about how you did that to set up new sections.
We talked about the use of ostinatos, particularly your bass lines. I even tried to get them to notate the rhythm (rhythm AND pitch was beyond them) of the opening bass line.
Then finally we got into the polyrhythm stuff in the final 9/4 section where the Crash is hitting dotted quarter notes against the 9/4 groove....this AWESOMELY is going to lead me back into my planned Djembe lesson because polyrhythm is all over African drumming patterns!
Then I played them the video and they just loved it more. I used my position at school (head of music) to get 2 Sticks put on the budget plus a Harpejji and the workshop with Steve A earlier on in the year and have been pushing Stick and more adventurous music all year. Your video, and you as a person helped in that for sure.
At some point I'm going to look at the 4 bar ostinato thing of a 1 bar idea, 2 repeats of it, and then a variation to round off the motif. Great compositional technique right there!
It was great and I loved the fact that I just ran with it rather than the planned (and far less interesting) African lesson. I'm gong to essentially repeat this lesson with my 11th Graders next week to see what they get from it too. Hopefully they should get deeper than the 14 year olds.
I've watched your videos a lot and have really loved them; from a Stick newbie perspective, from an appreciative musician perspective, even from a comedy perspective, and this particular piece as a model on which to introduce kids to a TON of compositional devices and techniques, within a style that they really loved, it was just amazing.
PS Donation to your site will arriving shortly,