In addition to the weeklong workshop we conducted with students in the North Adams community, we had the chance to dig into a couple of other music-making activities while in the Berkshires. The first was a “Physics of Music” demonstration at Brayton Elementary Science Camp, for a library-full of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. We learned about how scientific concepts like the height of a wave form (amplitude) play a role in music composition (dynamics). We then had the kids make sounds using these principles, which led to the creation of the track you hear below:
The other group we met with was part of the STEPS program, around 30 kids who are about to make the transition into 9th grade. They visited the hidden back rooms of MASS MoCA one morning where they were invited to make tunes on huge instruments — 8 foot-banjos and 12-foot djembes — built by Gunnar Schonbeck. You can hear a recording they made with our mobile recording studio in which they layered various makeshift percussion and woodwind instruments (as well as one very smooth off-the-cuff rap verse):
Thank you to all who participated, and to the North Adams Public Schools and MASS MoCA for facilitating these fun demonstrations!