dreamt of a meeting with John Cage ;-)

I woke up this morning recalling a dream I had in which I was at an event with John Cage. He was presenting to me and my students, and during a break in the event, he and I sat down together, he offered to let me have any ONE of the scores/resources that he had available at his house(??). The item I chose was apparently an educational book he wrote about creating improvisational scenarios in the classroom. I don’t know if such a thing actually exists. In any case, he was really excited about my choice, which in turn got me super excited about explaining the improvisation work my students and I have been doing in percussion ensemble. It was an amazing dream, I think, thanks to my conversations with Art Falbush this week about finding and re-finding the inspirations of our youth to help us keep our love for music alive.


AT work on floor and short meditation before practicing.


Marimba/Surface Drifts

Warmup/Improvisation/Technique – hhhmmm….interesting. So, while I went in with Cage on my mind, I actually started and ended in very Steve Reich-ian way, starting with two notes (highest F and C), in ‘ah’ 1 repeating rhythm, and using additive procedures, incorporated more notes and slowly changing rhythmic/harmonic variations until all the space was full. Somehow that transitioned into a more sparse and delicately melodic section in which I was attempting to sign the pitches in my head before striking. And, in order to close the improv in a sensible way, I moved back to a busy Reich-ian rhythm and slowly deducted notes while very gradually decrescendo-ing.

Sightreading – Bach Violin Sonata II Andante in Ami (it’s always Bach!) 😉 Every time I read this movement, I remember my professor Dr. Scott Herring’s beautiful performance of it.

Surface Drifts mm. 1-40 – (I have been focusing on these measures solely for the last few weeks because they are the most difficult to keep in my memory, and also most difficult to push the tempo.) I worked mm. 28-40 hands separate (starting with LH) and together, without metronome. Then read thru mm. 15-40 a few times before working beat-by-beat and in whole phrases with metronome at 55bpm. (Hey, I finally made it more than eight measures in an hour! I suppose the learning curve – at this tempo, anyway – is starting to lean upward!)



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