All of the participating artists are really getting into the groove of the recording process. It's something that is very new to all of them, so I feel lucky that most of people participating are feeling open to sharing. In the next couple weeks I'll be trying to record as much new music as possible while preparing for the concert on August 11th.
The next recording is a really nice statement from Deb at the St. Paul facility. This piece is a great example of me stepping out of the way so Deb can express her vision. In this piece Deb expresses her religious beliefs in a way that I don't personally identify with, but I'm really happy to be a conduit to help her to express these ideas. I improvised a keyboard part under Deb's improvised poem. Here is: I Don't Swear, I Don't Talk Back, I Don't Hit and I'm Saved.
We have found a bit of a routine at the Eagan center, everyone takes a turn recording on the mini keyboard, then Jerriel and Troy come up with some vocals. Jerriel is a big batman fan so he wanted to a piece about him titled Batman. Next weeks piece is about Iron Man!
Ashley is always excited to get to the keyboard but sometimes gets a little shy when she gets in front of it. I found if I play trumpet a long with her she is more willing to play. When we did this in our workshop I only had the recording running on Ashley's playing. That evening I recorded trumpet overtop of the recording I made of her playing. I used my new R-121 microphone I bought myself for Christmas! Here is A Duet by Ashley and Paul (I'm gonna talk to Ashley to see if she wants to find a new name for the piece this week)
Something that I find is great about these weekly workshops is that I'm always discovering something new. I had a piece ready to go for the Shoreview group to perform on the concert. My thought was that we were going to work on that piece each week until the concert and that would be that. But this week I found a second piece for them! Carol and Drea were improvising on two different keyboards. I found these two sounds that I think work really well together. These are the sort of sounds that I feel like you can play just about anything and you can't mess it up, so long as you stay in this atmospheric, soundscape sort of style. Carol wanted to name this piece after one of her favorite staff members, Holly.
It was a small group this week, Nick and Hannah worked on this piece together. Nick played the MIDI drum part and performed some vocals. Hannah played the bass parts and also performed some vocals. I added some melody lines for good measure. They were learning about the Efile Tower today, so that was the topic of discussion for this piece. While we were recording Nick kept joking with Hannah, asking her if she spoke french, he thought it was hilarious! He decided he wanted to name it Hannah K Speaks French. This one might sound best in headphones or with a decent set of speakers, the bass isn't coming through too well on my computer speakers, I will take another pass on editing to try and fix this next week.
Something I've been meaning to write about for a couple of weeks is Music Therapy. Specifically the fact that I don't have any music therapy training. I also don't view this work as music therapy. I approach the people at MSS and CCW as musical collaborators. The primary goal is to make music but doesn't mean there isn't therapeutic benefits, it's just not the primary goal in these situations. This idea actually came to me from Lori Bartol the Director of CCW. Since CCW is a vocational arts center, the primary goal is to make art so she makes a point to hire Teaching Artists instead of a Art Therapists.
I choose to approach the people I work with at CCW and MSS as collaborators because I think they are fully capable of making interesting and compelling music, and I think they should have the opportunity to engage in that creative process if it's something they want. They are some of the of the most interesting, and fulfilling collaborators I've worked with and I think if other people would engage with them as collaborators, they would make a similar conclusion!