Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Fall 2009 Departmental Workshops

Below is detailed information pertaining to the upcoming Departmental Workshops. This is PMAC's sixth year of providing workshops for private lesson students. It is one of the advantages of studying at a community school and designed to be fun and informative for all students. Also check out my May 2005 Blog Post: The Value of Departmental Workshops.

NOVEMBER 22 - 24, 2009

What are Departmental Workshops? Departmental Workshops are master classes for all private music lesson students who study at PMAC. These workshops are presented by our faculty and focus on musicianship, performance techniques, music equipment and repertoire.

Why do I have to attend? As a private music lesson student, workshop attendance is mandatory. This is an opportunity to work with different teachers, meet students with similar interests and learn something new. There are no lessons the week of Departmental Workshops to give everyone time to attend.

When are the Workshops? The dates are the workshops are November 22-24, 2009. Note the following changes: We’ve moved the two Wednesday workshops to the prior Sunday afternoon to accommodate families with full schedules and to move them farther away from Thanksgiving Day; and we’ve moved the Adult Workshop to Monday evening.

Where are they located? All Workshops take place in our PMAC Recital Hall.

How do I sign-up? Please talk to your instructor directly to get their recommendation for the best workshop for your ability. All workshops are limited to 25 participants – no exceptions! – so be sure to sign up early to get the class of your choice. If you have any questions, please call the PMAC Office at 431-4278 or e-mail Katie at

2-3pm: Music Theory Games (for any student, ages 7 to 14) – Instructor Bryan Killough presents several music theory concepts using games and interactive materials. Learn about intervals, scales and more in an entertaining and fun way! Workshop Leader: Bryan Bergeron Killough; Supporting Teacher: Nick Phaneuf

3:30-4:30pm: Listening Workshop – Song Forms (for any student ages 9 to 18) – In this listening based workshop hear a wide variety of songs from the world of popular music and learn what to listen for to reveal clues about how they are put together. Workshop Leader: Nick Phaneuf; Supporting Teacher: Bryan Bergeron Killough

3:30-4:30pm: Improvisation (for any instrumental student ages 9 to 18) – Get out your instruments and improvise along with our jazz faculty – even if you’ve never tried to improvise before! All instruments are welcome. Workshop Leader: Chris Klaxton; Supporting Teachers: Matt Langley, Mike Walsh, Jeff Auger

4:45-5:45pm: Guitar Amplifiers (for any guitar student, ages 5 to 18) – Learn about guitar amplifiers including how they work and techniques for getting the best sound production. Guest artist Dave Hunter invites all guitar students to bring their amplifier along to learn more about it. Workshop Leader: Dave Hunter (guest artist); Supporting Teachers: Nick Phaneuf, Carlos Sabina, Mike Effenberger

6-7pm: Auxilliary Percussion (for any student, ages 8 to 18) – Guest artist Shane Kinney from the Drum Shop of Portsmouth will bring a wide variety of auxiliary percussion instrument to this workshop where students will learn about and play the instruments. From bongos and congas to tambourines and triangles, there will be a lot of fun music to be made! - Workshop Leader: Shane Kinney (guest artist); Supporting Teachers: Mike Walsh, Adam MacDougall, Diane Tiezzi

7:15-9pm: Adult Workshop (for all adult students (ages 21+) – ALL adult private lesson students are asked to attend this important session where we get the opportunity to play our pieces for each other, discuss the unique challenges and joys of learning music as an adult, and partake in wonderful food and libations! - Workshop Leader: Mike Effenberger; Supporting Teachers: Diane Tiezzi, Adam MacDougall, Russ Grazier

3:30-4:30pm: Composition (for all students ages 8 to 18) – Do you write music? Have you ever wanted to write a song but don’t know where to begin? This special workshop provides insight into the craft of composition and gives easy tips to help you start writing your own original music. - Workshop Leader: Russ Grazier; Supporting Teachers: Katie Papini Backus, Adam MacDougall, Nicole Hajj

4:45-5:45pm: Young Student Workshop (for students ages 8 and younger) – Designed for our youngest lesson students, this workshop encourages joy and fun in music making. - Workshop Leader: Virginia Macdonald; Supporting Teachers: Nicole Hajj, Kibbie Straw

6-7pm: Listening Workshop - Opera (for students ages 8 to 18) – Listen to and learn about one of history’s great art-forms: opera. Great for all students, especially young singers. - Workshop Leader: Judy McCann; Supporting Teacher: Mark Zielinski, Nate Therrien

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Best Halloween Show Ever

Spinal Tarp (a Spinal Tap tribute band) gave one of 2009's best performances on Halloween night at The Barley Pub. Featuring PMAC guitar and bass instructor Nick Phaneuf as Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls and PMAC piano dept. chair Mike Effenberger as Viv Savage, the performance captured the true essence of Tap. And both the music and costumes were dead on. They performed EVERY song from the classic 1980 mock-u-mentary, even creating full arrangements of the first Tap tune and fully performing Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel, both of which were only snippets in the film and not on the soundtrack. It's definitely going to make 2009's top ten list!