*We meet here, each Thursday at 9am* Remy's office hours are: Tuesday 1030-1130am (click here to hang at that time) Thursday 1030-1130am (click here to hang at that time) *by request* Go get Soundtrap! Your code is: YW3QQXA
Week 9, Thursday, May 28, 2020 -Please everyone do this reflection. -Please everyone do this forum. If you can't access the forum, click here and still respond via email. -Chat rooms are here. -Drop projects in here for sharing! PLEASE.
The results of the TRI-M election were: Sarah Knox, president Laura Yeadon, vice president Colby Bennoch, secretary Finn Hansbury, treasurer Edward Choi, historian
Week 8, Thursday, May 21, 2020 -Please participate in our TRI-M election! 1) Read these role descriptions, written statements/resumes: HERE 2) Vote: HERE
-forum is here. -Chat rooms are here. -Drop projects in here for sharing! PLEASE. -I'd still like for you to read how to practice and try you hardest to GIVE IT A SHOT THIS WEEK. Make a practice plan, keep a practice journal. -If you didn't check out radio.garden last week, you totally should. Read at the bottom of that post. Here are a few more things I like: one, two, three. You'd probably like this whole site, actually.
-This is the danplan thing I was talking about. -Follow miketrumpetmike on Instagram. And remylikesmusic, mdihsmusic, if you haven't...
Week 7, Thursday, May 14, 2020 -Do this reflection. -Do the forum. -The chat rooms are here for today. -Read through this "HOW TO PRACTICE draft" guide. There's more where this came from. This is just a draft. -Start dropping things that you are willing to share on a public page here. These can be songs. Videos. Dances. Etc. Think of it like a mix of the spring concert and blueberry jam during pandemic times.
-This is fun. It's fun to travel to a random place and hear the radio. -It's fun to use this as inspiration to find a place to visit.
Week 6, Thursday, May 7, 2020 -Everything we've done and talked about over the past 6 weeks is below. If you forget about something, need a passcode to get into a specific platform, want inspiration, I hope that you can scroll around and find what you need. If not, email me and I'm happy to help! -This week I want you to think about your habits and practicing. You are what you do. What do you do? If you had a GPS on all day long, what would the map look like? How are you spending your time? How would you spend your time, ideally? -Next week we are going to talk about what a practice routine might look like for music. How do you practice now? If you don't, why? What could it look like?
Brew on these things for next week...
This week: -In this folder are videos to help you with the following things: *Try your hand at Acapella *Making a beat in Audacity *Playing/navigating/recording in Smart Music (see lower in the thread for login info) *Drones, if you didn't do it. -Do the forum -Do the reflection
What we covered in class: I have 3 goals during this time: 1) Do my best to make sure you are happy, healthy and have everything you need. 2) Help you to become a more self sufficient musician 3) Create a collaborative music platform to share what we’re doing with others. Add to the ideas here.
As we’ve dug deeper into this isolation from one another, I hear more and more students that they lack motivation. That they’re doing the bare minimum “now that it’s pass fail”. That they are just scrapping it together and spending most of their time in bed, streaming, playing video games. Setting their alarm clocks for 8:57 before a 9am Google Hang. That’s classic.
The first thing I want to say to you is: that’s ok. This isn’t a normal time. Nobody has this under their belt. We are all grieving, whether we know it or not and it’s really hard- again, even if you don’t necessarily feel it deep in your bones. We all feel things differently. Give yourself some love.
Most of you have spent your entire lives scheduled to the brim. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. I’m closer to your generation than many teachers and though we share some things: cell phones, the internet, school shootings, climate change, lifetime of crippling debt, I had endless down time as a kid. I played in the streets for hours. I don’t remember doing homework, ever. I had band practices after school during marching season and was on a few teams too, but it was never much. I had so much time on my hands. I had my own band that rehearsed every Friday and Saturday night. I’d go exploring the countryside with my friends. We did the craziest stuff. One time we drove three hours, one way, to West Virginia, just to annoy my friend. He had a huge head. Literally. A large skull.
I truly believe that art, in its purest form, rises out of boredom. Boredom isn’t the word I want to use though. I grew up believing that boredom was bad. I told my mom I was bored ONE time, when I was 8 and she said “you’re not bored, you’re boring”. And that was it. Being idle is so important.
The longer we’ve spent being over scheduled, that harder it is to be alone in a room with almost nothing to do. Forgive yourself. But I want to encourage you to work at it a little bit.
I’ll give you an example. Yesterday, I tried to work on writing a song. I am several songs behind in my song of the week club. I keep putting it off. Typically what happens when I want to work on something is that I sit down, take an initial crack at it, get three or four words down, check twitter, go make a cup of coffee and take a nap. The second I make even an ounce of progress, something inside me says “WELP, TIME TO GO”. I never let myself hit the wall. Yesterday, I wrote 6 lines and then sat there, in the sun for forty minutes coming up with 3 more. It was brutal but I FELT it. I felt satisfied with my work. I was proud of my effort even though my lyrics were trash. You ever spend an entire day outside, running around, biking, swimming, kayaking and then collapse that night into your bed? It’s one of the best feelings- this is sort of like that.
I want you to give yourself a chance.
Things to check out: My introduction to playing over drones (link at top) Matt Ottos drones, for practicing after you watch my video (link at top). Check out his instagram too. @mattottojazz Bachir Attar, if you wanted to hear him and the master musicians of Jajouka. Chuck Johnson’s album Balsams is one of my current favorite drone based albums If you are digging some of the middle eastern drone based music and like jazz, check out anything by Rabih Abou-Khalil, I love his album Blue Camel or Cactus of Knowledge If you want more recommendations, I have them!
More: I’d love you to create your own drone based music and send it to me! Put together a soundtrap or acapella collaboration with your friends, share with Remy Build a practice routine (we’ll be focusing in on this next week) Continue messing with menu items (at the bottom) I miss you so much.
Week 4, Thursday, April 16, 2020 Yo. I'm going to write a little bit less this week here. Sorry. I'll have a doozy for you after spring break.
Great resources: I often use Google as a metronome, by typing “metronome” into google.
iPhone apps I utilize often: Pro Metronome: awesome for next level metronome stuff. One of my favorite features is the training tool where you can customize what beats are played in which bars. I love to set the app for 12 bars and it only plays on beat 3 in bar 12, and for all those other beats/bars, you’re relying on your internal clock, anxiously waiting to see if you click back up with the metronome. Awesome tool. I think the full version of this app was 5 bucks. It’s a free download without full access to every feature.
Drum Genius: This app is loaded with tons of samples of famous drummers in multiple genres. You can buy each individual drummer’s sample or you can pay like 8 bucks to get all of them from the start, which is what I did. This is my favorite ‘metronome’ to practice with, especially when playing improvised music/jazz.
TE Tuner: This is the best phone tuner, it’s 3.99 but totally worth it. It has drone functions, tracks how often you tune to try and build a habit of using it each day.
Voice Memos: already on your phone! I record myself practicing each day. I also have random song ideas, melodies, words, etc. that come to me at various times and it’s nice to whip out my phone and just sing into it while on a walk. I read somewhere once that Duke Ellington used to sometimes compose on little staff paper note cards and put them in a small filing cabinet. And when he was struggling, he’d pull out a couple of different snippets from various times and see if he could get inspired. I use voice memos that way. I also record band/orchestra/jazz all the time with my phone.
Week 3, Thursday, April 9, 2020 Hey, we at least had some real nice weather throughout this week. I hope you got out there and enjoyed it. Ruby and I had an awesome hike up Gorham on my birthday. I am now old, so that’s just great. Last week I asked you to consider a few things and today in our reflection we’ll do a follow up on those items.
To review, they were: 1) Is there a way that you can bring joy into the world through music? 2) Now that you know that we’ll at very least have the entire month of April in our homes, are there any long term musical projects you can tackle or goals you can accomplish with this time? (edit:I think it’s crucial to consider this question assuming we won’t go back to the physical school in the 19-20 school year now…)
Bringing joy into the world is super powerful but can be challenging, particularly if you are young and inexperienced or shy. I’m shy. Very shy. My job demands that I am outgoing, loud and confident but when I’m not at work, I am introverted. Quiet. It can be hard for me to get out there. I have the skills to be playing regular gigs and to be sharing the things I’m working on but have a hard time gathering the confidence to do it on my own. Recently, a few of my former students from my first few years at MDIHS and I restarted a songwriting club we had when they were in high school called Song of the Week, based on this article. Each week, we choose a prompt and have to write a song using that prompt. It’s a productivity club. It’s all about quantity vs. quality. So many of us are so consumed by quality that we never get anything done. One of my favorite writers refers to this as shoveling poop. He’s a farmer. And a writer. He writes each day during set hours and believes that most of it is no good, but says when you’re shoveling poop for hours each day, the piles eventually get big enough that someone notices, points and says “wow, that’s a lot of poop!”.I love that.
Last night I turned in my first song. It was huge for me. I re-listened to it this morning and feel really embarrassed by it, but I did it!
This week, I’d like for you to do a few things:
A) The music forum, always and forever. Some of you are getting behind. This weeks post is different. With the idea of bringing a little joy into the world, instead of me suggesting a song, I want you to follow the prompts in this week’s forum post and go from there… Because this is more elaborate, it’ll replace the weekly reflection for this week.
B) Continue working on the goals you might want to tackle in this time (I want to see this list next week, so keep working on it throughout the week). Here were my life goals when I was a senior in high school, hahahaha. Two years later, I took a different approach in trying to figure out how to combine all of my passions and desired personality traits. We'll be talking about lists and priorities more next week. C) Play your instrument at least 3 times per week, 20 minutes at a time, if possible. This is a bare minimum to maintain high school level chops. H) LONG TERM, I want you to be thinking about a musical project that you can share with me in the coming weeks. Maybe something you’re working on in Soundtrap with some friends or Logic. Maybe connecting me to your Smart Music. Maybe you’re starting a music blog or podcast? Tuck that away and keep thinking about it.
If you are done with those items, feel free to tackle anything from the menu too! The menus are still in the lower posts below. Big Fish, great movie.
Week 2, Thursday, April 2, 2020 When things would be super busy throughout the school year, I’d find myself wishing for forced free time. Like when you get trapped in the airport after a flight cancellation but much longer. Now that I have it, I find that I’m scrambling around like a greasy egg in a piping hot skillet. The days drag on but are flying by. It’s suddenly April. My birthday is this week. Ugh.
Part of it is that it’s hard to grasp all that’s happening. There are so many sick people. There is so much suffering. It can be hard to find the truth. It’s hard to go on as if we are in some sort of extended spring break. In that way, our typical activities can feel goofy. But it’s important to take care of yourself and to have some sense of normalcy. Music heals. Music helps.
Throughout this week, I want you to really consider a few things: 1) Is there a way that you can bring joy into the world through music? 2) Now that you know that we’ll at very least have the entire month of April in our homes, are there any long term musical projects you can tackle or goals you can accomplish with this time?
Those will be the subjects of next weeks C block, but I want you to marinate with them for the week. Put them in the crock pot.
There are all sorts of live concerts floating around out there. Folks are recording videos where various members of a band submit their parts (acapella is a great app for this) and then the listener can watch a band perform from their various homes in little squares. People LOVE this stuff. It’s getting folks by. Could you do something like this? With your friends? Even if you were to individually play a pep tune and pass it around via acapella and post it, it would easily get over 100 likes on social media, that’s 100 smiles. 100 smiles=1,000,000,000 smiles. Actual science.
Most people indicated that they didn’t have enough time to dive into the activities listed for last week. This week, I’d like you to either dive deeper or try something new. If you are ready, I’d love if you shared something with me, a product. Each of these platforms could/should lead to a result, something tangible.
A) Here are the things I for sure want you to do during C block: 1) The music listening forum. Each week, on Thursday, a new song will be posted. Do these during C block. If you are new to the forum, read about why we do the forum and how it works on the forum page. You listen to a song and respond to it, easy! 2) The reflection. Complete this at the end, after you spend some time on a menu item or two. 3) If you haven’t yet, PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT (if you are able to).
B) The items on this list might change each week or carry different expectations, but again for this week, I’d like for you to explore without much assistance from me at least one item or multiple items on this list. Some of them might require an instrument, others encourage you to do a group project and work with your friends, feel free to try any/all of them but at the very least do 1 today in your remaining time. You can dive deeper into what you started last week or try something new. I’d like each person to try each thing at some point: 1) Explore Smart Music- eventually involves playing your instrument 2) Explore Sight Reading Factory- may or may not involve playing your instrument 3) Explore Garage Band or Audacity- may or may not involve playing your instrument. Logic Pro is FREE for 90 days, but takes awhile to download. Logic Pro is usually 200 bucks and is Garage Band X’S 1,000,000,000. Final Cut Pro is also free for 90 days and is a great video editing program that you could use to make cool music video stuff. 4) Explore the app Acapella (for iPhone only), a multi tracking video app (you can collaborate with friends) 5) Explore Soundtrap or Band Lab, collaborative music studios, think of it like a google doc form of a music studio- super sick (you can collaborate with friends). I’m working on getting the free group license. 5) Explore Teoria (music theory training) 6) Explore two of the better online jazz blogs for folks who are at any level of playing: Jazz Advice, Learn Jazz Standards.
Each week during C block, we will meet in small groups via hangouts so that I can have a chance to check in with you for ten or fifteen minutes with each small group. Meeting as a huge class and connecting on an individual level is impossible. During the time you aren’t briefly meeting with me, you’ll do two other things:
A) Here are the things I for sure want you to do during C block:
1) The music listening forum. Each week, on Thursday, a new song will be posted. Do these during C block. If you are new to the forum, read about why we do the forum and how it works on the forum page. You listen to a song and respond to it, easy!
B) The items on this list might change each week or carry different expectations, but for this week, I’d like for you to explore without much assistance from me at least one item or multiple items on this list. Some of them might require an instrument, others encourage you to do a group project and work with your friends, feel free to try any/all of them but at the very least do 1 today: 1) Explore Smart Music- eventually involves playing your instrument 2) Explore Sight Reading Factory- may or may not involve playing your instrument 3) Explore Garage Band or Audacity- may or may not involve playing your instrument 4) Explore the app Acapella (for iPhone only), a multi tracking video app (you can collaborate with friends) 5) Explore Soundtrap, collaborative music studio, think of it like a google doc form of a music studio- super sick (you can collaborate with friends) 5) Explore Teoria (music theory training) 6) Explore two of the better online jazz blogs for folks who are at any level of playing: Jazz Advice, Learn Jazz Standards.
Heading forward, I will be making tutorials about how to use all of this stuff. I’m hoping that each of you can find a way to maintain your playing through practicing a little bit 3-5 times a week and that you can learn to be more independent as musicians through projects, listening, studying and exploring on your own.
If you have any issues, my “office hours” are immediately after C block today from 1030-1130am and on Tuesday from 1030-1130am. The links to those open hangs are on the main page and in the calendar. I am always available by email and request for a google hang. If anyone wants a lesson or to talk or to work on anything, just email! So great to see you all today, Remy