This morning I had the joy of inviting my students out to the scenic locale of my studio and home in Southern California for a “Violin Get-Together” — that is to say, not exactly a workshop, nor entirely a formal group lesson, but more of a “violin party”, as one of my students, Keith Sorrells, put it. I confess, my original plans for the conept were not entirely fulfilled, as there wound up being only two participants and no audience (of family or friends), but I think it’s safe to say that MaLinda, Keith, and I all enjoyed our time together immensely.
We began with solo performances; the students were allowed to choose any piece of their liking to “show off” and practice performing. We also talked a little about their chosen pieces or performance experience, then the three of us performed a familiar canon together. Next we sat down for a couple rounds of Musical Flashcards; MaLinda and Keith not only battled it out for who had the most musical knowledge ;), but they also learned several brand new terms and ideas in the process.
Our final activity was something I’ve nicknamed our Original Group Composition. This was definitely a favorite activity and something I look forward to doing again! For this project, MaLinda and Keith were given a set of blank cards, on which they were to write down any pattern of rhythms (within a certain set of note values) they wished. Each card represented one measure in common time, and we ended up with eight “bars” of varying rhythms. Then, separating those eight bars into two four-bar motives, we proceeded to discuss how certain rhythms signal beginnings and endings of phrases better than others. When we had arranged our eight bars into a satisfying phrase of rhythm, we then discussed some very basic ideas behind chord progressions and applied them to our phrase. Finally, before an eager audience (who happened to arrive just in time for this), we performed our Original Group Composition together in perfect harmony!