Excerpt From “Concepts for Improvisation” Lecture/Workshop (2nd session)

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Thank you again to the faculty and students of DLS-CSB Music Production Department for making this lecture/workshop possible. Thank you also to the students who participated in the workshop part of the session. Here’s a short excerpt from the 2nd of 3 sessions.

Lecture and Workshop: Concepts for Beginning Improvisation (2nd Session)

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For students at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, I will be conducting the 2nd or 3 sessions of lectures and workshops on concepts for beginning improvisation this Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The 2nd session will deal more on motivic development and the concept of target notes based on a simple guide tone line.

As before, we will begin the session with a short lecture and demonstration. Proceeding right after the lecture is a workshop for students. I strongly encourage those attending to bring their instruments and participate in this workshop.

See you all on Wednesday, March 11.

Finale 2014: Preparing Classroom Exercises

Here’s a quick Finale 2014 tip for educators. When preparing exercises for students, especially for harmony and voicing exercises, I usually want to separate each measure into small adjacent staff systems for students to write on. The way to do this is to go to “Page Layout” and uncheck “Avoid Margin Collisions”. This will let you move individual staff systems to wherever you want.

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If you want to place the whole note in the middle of the measure, you will need to download a JW Plugin called “JW Change. This plugin does a lot of things, including moving the note entry horizontally within a measure.

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Here’s a video of how I did my class exercise in Finale 2014.

 

Tom & Jerry Live Scoring

To my orchestration students, I stumbled upon this really cool video. It’s a live performance of the music used in old Tom and Jerry cartoons. In relation to our current lesson in Brasses (and subsequent lessons in Woodwinds and Percussion), there are a lot of articulation here in use that are hard to describe in class without examples. Let’s get on with the observations:
– music starts off big and comedic. then at about 0:31, changes into a smaller comedic orchestration
– from 0:31, notice the really quick, short, and energetic melody presented by strings. this helps in the presentation of the hyper-active cat-and-mouse scenes.
– notice when the solo violin comes in at 0:51, the orchestration of the other material (harmonic and counterpoint) thins out to let the solo violin project more (solo violin is doubled with flute at 1:02).
– 0:57 comes the trumpets using mutes. i can’t really tell though if they’re using straight mutes or harmon mutes.
– 1:15 in this orchestration, the addition of the sax section (usually 2 altos, 2 tenors, 1 baritone, but in this case its 3 altos and 1 baritone). this gives the music that jazz-y feel along with the addition of the drum set.
– at 1:32, a solo muted trumpet comes in off-camera.
– 1:47 here you see trumpets using the plunger to get that “wah-wah” effect.
– 2:00 here you’ll see a trombone glissando using the slide.
– 2:14 one of the many “weird” percussion instruments you’ll encounter: trashcan and plates/pans.
– 2:21 another weird percussion instrument. the “screaming man”.. hehe
– 2:29 perfect example of a quirky melodic line in the strings doubled by the marimba to add to that comic effect.
– 2:45 trombone solo counterpoint with slide glissandi
– 2:48 off camera, you’ll hear the brasses do a flutter tongue effect.
– 3:03 trombone using a harmon mute and using his hand for a “wah-wah” effect.
– 3:30 you guys just imagine the scene that needs that kind of percussion.
– 4:55 yes, a gunshot can be used as a percussion instrument (just like one of, i think, mozart’s pieces that requires for a cannon to be shot).

Excerpt From “Concepts for Improvisation” Lecture/Workshop

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Thank you to the faculty and students of DLS-CSB Music Production Department for making this lecture/workshop possible. Thank you also to the students who participated in the workshop part of the session. Here’s a short excerpt from the 1st of 3 sessions.

Lecture and Workshop: Concepts for Beginning Improvisation

JCM Improv Lecture Poster

For students at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, I will be conducting a series of monthly lectures and workshops on concepts for beginning improvisation starting this Wednesday, Feb 4, 2015.

The short lectures I prepared are primarily aimed to create interest in the art of improvisation using simple musical concepts such as arpeggios and scales. To students who already have a background in improvisation, these lectures serve as a different perspective to some of the concepts they already know. The prepared musical examples and performances are mostly in the jazz idiom, though the lecture contents can be applied to other styles of music which requires the performer to add improvised lines. The contents in each session is geared towards a melodic approach to improvisation; ideas on how to start a motif, how to develop a motif, creating contour and contrast throughout the whole form,  tension and release ideas, etc.

After the short lectures, a workshop/semi-masterclass session will follow. During the workshop portion of the event, students are encouraged to come up on stage with their instruments and improvise on a simple chord progression. I will then throw in some suggestions that may work as idea-generating tools using simple concepts (ex: arpeggios and scales). Performance and ensemble playing are also taken into consideration in the workshop portion, which is structured as a masterclass session.

 

Live Performance of Written Work

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The feeling of accomplishment will always be there every time one of my orchestrations or arrangement gets played live. Although, admittedly, this is always accompanied by another feeling; as if I have just submitted my thesis and is currently under scrutiny by the whole college department.

In terms of being an arranger and orchestrator, I always think of the process as a never ending learning event. Every music I orchestrate pushes my creativity into different directions; directions which I wouldn’t initially think of looking into at the beginning of the writing process.

This YouTube clip is from last Jan. 19, 2015. The show’s organizers commissioned me to orchestrate the song People (T. Bennett version). The music was performed by Arthur Manuntag with the String Minstrels Orchestra.