Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall 2011 Department Workshop Schedule and Information

Departmental Workshop Week is for any student who is enrolled in the 2011 Fall Semester! Built into the Fall Semester curriculum, workshop week is designed to help students learn about topics, styles and techniques that go beyond their private lesson, ensemble or class. Each student will choose one workshop to attend (lessons, ensembles and classes will not take place during workshop week). Students must sign up in advance for the workshop of their choice by calling PMAC at 603-431-4278, e-mailing katie@pmaconline.org, registering online at www.pmaconline.org or by simply enrolling for a workshop through your instructor!

Below is detailed information pertaining to the upcoming Departmental Workshops (including descriptions of each workshop at the bottom of this post). This is PMAC's eighth 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. PMAC students can register for a workshop online by clicking here.

November 20 - 22, 2010

What are Departmental Workshops? Departmental Workshops are master classes for all PMAC students: music and art; youth and adult; private lesson, ensemble and class. These workshops are presented by our faculty and focus on creativity including musicianship, artisic development, performance techniques, listening and understanding, music equipment, artistic mediums and repertoire.

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

When are the Workshops? The dates of the workshops are November 20 - 22, 2011.

Please note some important changes, based on feedback from students, parents and faculty during our 2010 Strategic Plan listening sessions and surveys: Departmetal workshops are now desiged for ALL students, music and art. Music students may take an art workshop and art students may take a music workshop. There are a wider variety of workshops for adults and several that are for youth and adults combined. We also are working to incorporate workshops that discuss the relationships between music and visual art. We hope you like these changes and welcome feedback.

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, register for a workshop online at www.pmaconline.org or e-mail Katie at katie@pmaconline.org.


Mural Making Party!, 2:00 - 3:00pm
Come enjoy hands-on fun and create a GIANT masterpiece mural that reflects YOUR creative side! Share your artistic and musical inspirations as well as ALL the things you love through this art project!! The mural will be hung at PMAC, and go on tour to PMAC events in the future! We will also create our own individual works of art to take home that day! Workshop Teaching Team: Anna Nuttall & Laura Beaudoin. Open to students ages 7-12 (maximum 8).

Swing Feeling, 3:00 - 4:00pm
What is swing? Who invented it? Students will learn to snap on “two and four,” and play swung eigth notes on their instruments. We will also listen to some hot examples of swinging beats as well as discuss how to use a metronome to practice swing at home. Workshop teaching team: Bryan Bergeron Killough, Jim Rudolf, and John Peiffer. Open at all ages & abilities.

From “It’s Gonna Rain” to “WTC 9/11”: The Spoken Word and Social Commentary in the Music of Steve Reich, 4:30 - 6:00pm 
Join PMAC founder and composer Russ Grazier in a discussion of the music of New York composer Steve Reich, focusing on four works that incorporate spoken word recordings: “It’s Gonna Rain” (1964), “Come Out” (1966), “Different Trains” (1988), and “WTC 9/11” (2011). Reich, a prominent American minimalist composer, has explored the integration of spoken word and music throughout his career, most recently with the controversial “WTC 9/11,” a reaction to the World Trade Center attack of 9/11/01. This workshop centers on a discussion of two ways Reich has incorporated spoken word recordings into his music. These recordings contain graphic content that is not suitable for younger students. For youth students who choose to attend, parents are encouraged to attend the workshop with their child (parents must reserve a spot on the sign-up sheet, as there is only room for 30 people in the recital hall for this type of workshop). Please e-mail russ@pmaconline.org with any questions. Recordings will be available from the PMAC office to allow for listening sessions prior to the workshop. A listening station will be set up in the extended lobby - the CDs may not be copied or removed from the building. (Recommended for ages 13 and up with parental consent for youth students due to the graphic nature of the material). Workshop teaching team: Russ Grazier and Nick Phaneuf.

Adult Student Performance Workshop, 7:00 - 9:00pm
Adult private lesson students are invited 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! Limited to Adult Students age 21+. Workshop teaching team: Katie Backus and Jeff Auger.


Active Listening for Beginning Students, 3:30 - 4:30pmListening to music is as important to young students as practicing. We will explore the difference between listening to music in the background and 'actively' listening. In this workshop students will discuss identifying instruments and recognizing melodic themes. For Students age 5 - 8. Workshop teaching team: Diane Tiezzi, Jeff Auger, and Nicole Hajj. Parents are welcome.

History of Guitar in the Americas: 1840-1930, 4:45 - 5:45pm
We will be discussing the period from the first steel string acoustic to the beginning of the electric era. We will discuss the influence that construction had on the guitars role in modern music and the way players' desires drove innovation. Students will also learn about other South American chordophones that have influenced the modern guitar. For all students age 8 +. Workshop teaching team: Jim Dozet, Nick Phaneuf, and Carlos Sabina.

Which Came First? Voice and Lyrics in Jazz, 6:00 - 7:00pm
Some songs begin their life with lyrics and vocals and then become instrumentals. Some songs have gone the other way. Faculty will demonstrate a number of jazz songs and discuss the influence that the human voice has had the way jazz melodies are played and how vocalists are influenced by the sounds that various instruments make. For all students/instruments age 9 +. Workshop teaching team: Eric Klaxton, Nicole Hajj, Jeff Auger, and Mike Walsh.

Rhythm Section: Working Together, 7:15 - 8:15pm
Bring your instruments! The Rhythm Section, working as a team, is responsible for creating the 'feel' of a song. Faculty will demonstrate a few different types of grooves and explain each instruments role in creating it. Then they will turn it over to the students and give them a chance to try them out in small groups. For Drums, Guitar, Bass and Piano ages 12+. Workshop teaching team: Mike Walsh, Nick Phaneuf, Mike Effenberger, and Jim Dozet.


Active Listening for Beginning Students, 3:30 - 4:30pm
Listening to music is as important to young students as practicing. We will explore the difference between listening to music in the background and ‘actively’ listening. In this workshop students will discuss identifying instruments and recognizing melodic themes. For Students age 5 - 8. Workshop teaching team: Michelle Enos, Judy McCann, and Katie Backus. Parents are welcome.

Developing Musicianship: Learn Techniques to Make Practicing More Rewarding & Performing More Fun!,
4:45 - 5:45pm
Boston Symphony musician Eli Epstein put together a booklet for students to help them make the most of their time and energy with their music. This workshop material will be explored with workshop faculty and can be further expanded on in lessons with their instructor. Students will learn practical practice techniques and how to make the most of their own learning style. For Students ages 10+. Workshop teaching team: Ginna Macdonald, Michelle Enos and Nicole Hajj.

See a Song; Hear a Painting, 6:00 - 7:00pm
In this workshop attendees will discover the connections between sight and sound from two perspectives: that of art-maker, and art appreciator. We will view works of art, hear musical selections, and even do a short art activity. Direct connections between emotions and moods, lines and colors, and tone and tempos will be explored! Open to all music and art students ages 12+. Workshop teaching team: Anna Nuttall, Nick Phaneuf, Matt Langley, and Jeff Moses.

Singing for the Untrained Singer, 7:15 - 8:15pm
If you sing but you don't consider yourself a 'singer' then this workshop is for you! In this workshop students will learn the basics of breathing as well as techniques to sing safely and to maximize their sound! Open to all of all instruments age 11+. Workshop teaching team: Judy McCann, Nicole Hajj, and Nick Phaneuf.

QUESTIONS? Please call us at PMAC at 603-431-4278 or e-mail katie@pmaconline.org

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Heartened by City's Music Program

I wrote the following for today's Portsmouth Herald Opinion Page. It's also available online here.

Last evening I attended Portsmouth Middle School’s wonderful “Music in Our Schools Month” Concert in the PHS auditorium. The annual event featured performances by the Jazz Band, Rock Band, 6th Grade Chorus, 7th and 8th Grade Chorus, Flute Ensemble, Clarinet Ensemble and 8th Grade Band. I came away from the night proud of our community’s well established and flourishing music program. For the several hundred parents and grandparents in the audience, it was immediately evident that these programs are embraced by the students, who fill the stage and appear to be participating in record numbers. There is no doubt that music is an important part of their lives.

As an educator, I realize the power of a balanced curriculum that includes strong creative studies. Our economy is increasingly shaped by innovation and technological advancement. The skills that define the workforce of the 21st century are learned not only in the science lab and mathematics classroom, but also in art and band rooms. It was not by chance that during my years at the University of Chicago, the student orchestra was filled with physics, science, mathematics and medical students. The great thinkers of our future will depend on creative problem solving skills that are significantly developed through music and art studies.

As a musician I can attest to the role music plays in building social capital. What is social capital? Lew Feldstein, former president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation describes it best: social capital "refers to the bonds that tie a community together - bonds that make communities safer, schools better and people healthier. When people are invested in their communities, they are more likely to vote, volunteer and care for one another." Participation in music programs from the earliest ages through adulthood is one of the strongest ways to build social capital in your community. I see it every day here in Portsmouth.

As a parent I am proud to see my sons express themselves through music. It’s not easy being a teenager, and in this day of cyber-bullying, and the constant bombardment of commercial entertainment, creative outlets are critical to the health and well-being of our children. It was a joy to hear them perform Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing” with their friends Wednesday night.

As a citizen of Portsmouth, I value the education our children receive in the public schools - every aspect of that education. I am grateful to our music teachers for the high quality education they provide. I congratulate the students for a job well done. And I have some hope for our future because our community has deemed education to be of great value. Let’s keep it that way.

Russ Grazier Jr.
Executive Director of the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center
Vice President of the Parents Music Club
PHS Class of 1986
Proud Parent