Drury High School |
Breaking Band | Introducing composition to band students in MA
Since 2012 FSN has run the Young Composers Workshop at Drury High School in North Adams, MA, in collaboration with Bang on a Can's Summer Music Institute. Each summer we invite 8th through 12th grade students enrolled in the band program at Drury to participate in a week-long composition workshop. FSN facilitators Nandi Plunkett, Nathan Koci, Zubin Hensler, Jeremy Thal, and Elena Moon Park—as well as Bang on a Can All-Star Mark Stewart— work with these young composers to expand their understanding of music and explore the basics of composition.
Collaborating closely in small ensembles as well as in a large group, the students are introduced to entirely new ways of making music. Some of the topics we have touched on included methods of improvising, extended techniques, soundpainting (group improv via designated hand gestures), loop-based composition (both acoustically and digitally), and how to generate source material from found sounds. In 2016, the students were particularly inspired by a free-for-all exploration of the delightful instruments handmade by Gunnar Schonbeck, which live within a secret corridor of MASS MoCA’s massive post-industrial space.
The ongoing success of this program would be impossible without support from Drury High's wonderful band teacher Chris Caproni.