Music Inspired by Nature

We drew parallels between Andy Goldsworthy's use of natural elements in sculpture to composers' use of natural sounds in music. After listening to soundscapes of several environments on Monday, we listened to Pierre Schaeffer's Etude des chemins, which creates rhythmic patterns from train noises, and Hugh LeCaine's Dripsody, which is derived from a recording of a drop … Continue reading Music Inspired by Nature

Mongolian Tuvan Throat Singing

A Mongolian Tuvan throat singer performing before an audience in Paris.

Tuvan Throat Singing is an ancient Mongolian musical tradition. Not for the faint of heart, seasoned throat singers sing several tones simultaneously! Using ancient techniques, singers sing a drone in their resonant, chest voice while manipulating their throat, mouth and lips to sound overtones above at the same time. We listened to recordings of Tuvan … Continue reading Mongolian Tuvan Throat Singing

Learning about the Didgeridoo

We listened to the sounds of the didgeridoo, an Aboriginal wind and percussion instrument. After hearing recordings and watching videos of advanced players, we got to look at our very own didgeridoo. We also learned about circular breathing, a highly advanced technique embraced by wind and brass players as well as didgeridoo players. Using circular … Continue reading Learning about the Didgeridoo

The Tanabata Star Festival

Just last month, Japanese children celebrated Tanabata, or the July Star Festival. Families go outside on the night of July 7th to watch the stars Orihime and Hikoboshi (also known as Vega and Altair) meet across the Milky Way, known in Japanese legend as the river Amanogawa. Children write wishes and hang them on the … Continue reading The Tanabata Star Festival

Circle Time in Japan

Konnichiwa!  Day 2 of our global tour brought Spark explorers by Shinkansen bullet train to Japan, land of the rising sun.  We sang the Spark Arts Studio Song, which helps us remember where we are traveling for the day and how we will travel to our destination.  Each member of our class had a chance … Continue reading Circle Time in Japan

Playing Peruvian Shamanic Drums

While we were in the park, we learned about how Peruvian shamans use music and rhythm as part of their healing. We found a quiet space in the park to listen to the rhythm of our own heartbeats; a reminder that rhythm and percussion is quite literally at the center to human life. We used … Continue reading Playing Peruvian Shamanic Drums