It is such an amazing feeling to sit back and listen and watch and absorb students completely engaged in making music together. Improvising, deciding on bass lines, making their own arrangements, and also laughing and trying things they have never tried before. This first month after moving to Oberlin, Ohio I was completely immersed in my first ever Winter Term - AS A PROFESSOR. I decided to put a course together called Intro to Folk and Baroque, or sometimes, I like to call it Folk and Barolk - except I get so many people trying to correct my spelling! We dove into all kinds of baroque music and folk music from around the world. We discussed continuo playing, chords, rhythmic structures, melodies from around the world - and so much listening. One of my favourite parts about being a student at Oberlin all those many years ago was the amount of music we would listen to, and be introduced too. So many listening parties, rooftop dancing, jam session, and deep listening sessions. I even discovered Reggaeton at Oberlin.
The students doing this project worked on Bulgarian music, Klezmer music, Irish, English, Spanish, American, Canadian, German, Serbian, and more. It was so unique to see all of their eyes open wide every single day when we listened to, and started learning folk, traditional, baroque, classical music from around the world.
Tonight I feel extra warm and fuzzy because the concert where they performed all the music from the class was just fantastic. Their friends filled up the room, a new concert space at the Conservatory called Stull Hall. They introduced the pieces themselves, asked questions, facilitated a discussion - it was just amazing. I only joined them for one tune - one of my favourites - CANCRO CRU - thank you Anxo Pintos for letting us borrow this gorgeous piece.
I also was able to take the students on a small field trip to see Hawktail, a new American folk band based in Nashville that I believe is doing some really special original folk music. Complex arrangements, harmonies, and improvisation - and the students loved it. I also would like to personally thank the band, each of them - Dom, Brittany, Jordan, and Paul for meeting the students, being so kind, and putting on an amazing show after probably being on tour themselves for months and months and months already!
I'm so grateful for Oberlin for creating a space for these young minds, for my students, for all of my colleagues that have inspired me throughout the many years of playing already - and many more to come. THANK YOU!!!!
on tour. kickin it. playin.