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Posts tagged ‘Interview’

Where Music and Culture Intersect: Reflections on Rock

I had the pleasure of talking to Geoffrey Gevalt about music, life, and the unfolding of rock music and its surrounding sources as he grew up. This was so fun because the combination of Geoffrey’s archived experiences and the fact that he is a masterful storyteller meant that he could articulate and paint a picture for those of us who weren’t there in person. This semester I have been gathering interviews with people who work in the music industry or have specifically poignant experiences in order to supplement published books. How can you do justice to a subject so rich as rock music by reading a book? Don’t get me wrong, that’s part of it, and so are the videos, but even all the live footage on a great big screen doesn’t match the hype of a real concert. (not to mention all the added factors of getting there, finding the loo, managing to get better seats somehow and then experiencing the event with however many other people)

For me, experience is a great teacher, and those with experience can be great teachers too. This is the fourth interview. You can find them all listed HERE.

In this 41 min video, Geoffrey and I discuss some important issues relating to music performance. He drops a million names (please do look them all up!), and there are some real seeds for future discussion about the nature of performance and what artists are aiming for – I don’t have answers, but I give these questions to you as listeners, as music lovers, and as performers. Please do start the discussion by leaving a comment, and enjoy!

Featured image CC BY-SA by badgreeb RECORDS

Talking Jazz and Rock with Reuben Jackson

I had the (undeserved) privilege of being introduced to a poet and music lover who exceeds any ordinary music listener’s, and even most performer’s knowledge of groups, their influences, and their impact on music and life. Reuben Jackson is a curator, an archivist, and has long written and spoken about jazz. He was curator for the Smithsonian Jazz collection for 18 years, and so an invitation to speak to him was something not to pass up.

This year I’ve been teaching a new class (new to me) and naturally I’ve re-vamped it considerably from what I inherited. What does that mean? Homework for me. Research. Buckets of it. At least I can tell my students I’ve done at least 10 hours of homework a week. I hope they do too 😉

What you find below is the audio and the transcript of my talk with Reuben. Questions are in bold, so you can scroll through and pick the ones you are interested in. There are SO MANY names and references to people and works. I really do recommend you follow up on them and learn. Be a sponge. Challenge yourself – especially if you hadn’t considered crossing, and certainly not straddling the jazz / rock divide.

Enjoy! and huge thanks to Reuben for his generosity, both with his time and sharing his experiences and knowledge. For me it’s people and their living stories that make history come alive. (I also talked to Reuben about his upcoming book, and that segment will appear in another post)

Reuben Jackson Interview (with Laura Ritchie)

Tuesday 16, October, 2018

(ringing)

Good morning Felix Grant Jazz Archives.

-Hi, this is Laura Ritchie, I’m ringing for Reuben.

Yeah, hi, how are you?

-I’m very well. Thanks for making time to chat. And of course permission to share the call – I’m happy to transcribe it.

Oh absolutely. That’s fine.

-Thank you

Read more

On being a Music Critic – Interview with Glenn Gamboa

I really like to learn and I really like to tell stories. Over the years I’ve learned to ask and to listen and more often than not, people are willing to tell you a bit of their story. Last night was no exception. I had the privilege of speaking with Glenn Gamboa, music critic for Newsday, a very well known paper based in New York. As a teacher at university, I lead a couple of classes that have to do either with popular music or with music criticism, and so this was a wonderful opportunity to gather real stories – the straight from the person evidence that supplements academic texts and historical documents.

Glenn chose the time and I stopped what I was doing to make the call. I happened to be by the seaside and if you listen closely, you can hear children playing behind the initial ringing sounds, and there is one moment when a runner and his dog go by. The evening bats overhead didn’t make a sound.

Both the interview and transcript are below. Glenn was incredibly generous with his time, and I know my students will be excited to listen and follow up by reading his work. After the recorded portion of the call, I asked for guidance as to which of his pieces my students should read (Glenn is a very  prolific writer). He suggested these for starters.

They represent a range of short and longer pieces. I am sure when you read them, you will notice the absolute breadth of knowledge, attention to detail, and sheer amount of careful craftsmanship that has gone into putting together each piece. Even though Glenn speaks with such openness and with easy-going fluidity about what he does, mastery takes thousands of hours of practice, as with any discipline. I was definitely aware that I was speaking to one of the masters of this craft. Thank you Glenn for sharing your time with us!

A telephone conversation between Newsday Music Critic Glenn Gamboa and Laura Ritchie, 5 October, 2018

[ringing sounds]

Newsday, this is Glenn.

-Hi ! This is Laura Ritchie in the UK

Hey Laura, how are you?

-I’m fantastic! So this is fantastic and thank you so much. First question before we say anything, can I record the call to share with my students?

Oh sure, definitely.

-Thank you! So, you’ve been a music critic for a very long time.

…a very long time [laughs]

-No but seriously- for years and years, you’ve seen change that’s been unprecedented actually- gosh, I can’t even imagine. Will you tell me a bit about some of it?

Sure- Should I talk about how things are different now than they were 5 years ago?

-Absolutely. Read more

Talking Pedagogy: Stringbabies with Kay Tucker

Over the summer I had the pleasure of inviting Kay Tucker, creator of the Stringbabies teaching method to record a couple of conversations with me. I had sent her a few questions in advance and promptly went off script. This will be of interest to anyone who would like to know a bit of the methodology behind Stringbabies. These videos are not meant to be introductions to the method or any sort of sales pitch. I am interested in pedagogy and in these talks, I extract the underlying principles and begin to discuss how they are relevant to teachers and learners of music across the scope of learning – from beginners to the very advanced.

Together the videos take just under an hour to watch. Get the popcorn, boil the kettle, and pull up a chair.

Many thanks to Kay for taking the time to talk with me. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together.

Romanticism: It’s happening! #CClasses

This is session two of three in this round of the Connecting Classes project. What’s happening here is a different sort of teaching where actually you control the pace, and how and when you pause, reflect, and interact with both the content and with others. For this class, we have core lectures like many classes, but we do various things alongside this project as well. I record/archive all my lectures so that students can look back for a particular reference or find a bit of analysis that they might have missed or not quite taken in during the class. We use of an interactive reading list, so they can click straight through to the university’s subscription material and have the references I’ve used at their fingertips. This Connecting Classes project is one more way to engage, and for me it is possibly the most fun.

The idea (for those of you not in the room) is that we, who are in the room will all be listening and commenting on the three interviews below. We will use our own devices to listen. That means the room will look odd to a passer-by. They might peep in and see a room full of silent people with headphones on who are tapping into computers or their phones. I promise we are all on task! As we listen, we take notes and all our comments, ideas, questions, are typed and shared as Tweets. The tiny detail that makes this useful and a pedagogical tool is that we TAG our notes with both the project hashtag and the class hashtag:

#CClasses #MUL316

The beauty is that you (who could be across the world) are also welcome to join in when and where ever you can. The value of using Twitter is that anyone can join in, and with the tags, we can add your comments to our group notes. The live event is happening today, 4 Nov. 2016 at 11 am GMT, so you will see lots of activity then…

Let’s get to it!

Today we are listening to three interview with professional musicians on the topic of Romantic Music. They total 30 mins, and I suggest you give yourself an hour to listen and comment. If you can look on Twitter for the hashtag #MUL316 you will see other people’s comments too and maybe you can reply to someone – you may have the answer they are looking for! Enjoy!

  • 25961d_6941cf070a1542ae927abe640afaa362-jpg_srz_325_257_85_22_0-50_1-20_0Our first musician is Katherine Schultz, a cellist from Portland, Oregon. She speaks to us about practising and approaching this music in the following 10 mins. of audio.

  • 2bii-j-plowright-photo-2-reduced-for-web-page1Next Jonathan Plowright, concert pianist and Head of Keyboard at the University of Chichester, speaks about understanding and context within this music. He himself is preparing to record the complete piano music of Brahms:

  • 0lb7vgkcFinally we hear from a vocalist. So much of the great Romantic music literature is for voice. Mezzo-soprano and Head of Voice at the University of Chichester, Susan Legg (@susanlegg) takes us through the first song in a song cycle Frauenliebe und-leben by Schumann, identifying key features and explaining how the voice and piano work together with the words. She finishes the interview by performing the song. Beautiful!

I am hugely grateful to our musicians for allowing me to interview them, and for their willingness to share their expertise and knowledge with us.

Please keep listening and adding comments. This is meant to be a catalyst for further discussions and is by no means limited to the 11am time slot. If you tag them #CClasses and #MUL36 I will be able to find them and add them to the story! (I will share that via this website, so the public can see)

 

Join us next week as we hear from composers and conductors on their views about having their music performed and performing the music of others (relating of course to Romantic composers!). I am telling you the topic in case anyone would like to do some prep homework and come up with a spectacular reference to the views of a known or unknown Romantic composer on this topic for our discussion next time!

Laura

Featured image CC BY-NC by Smackfu

Romanticism comes to life with #cclasses

I am genuinely very very excited for this Friday’s session in my Romanticism lecture. Really. In it we’re joined by three distinguished guests who each bring Romantic music to life through their experience, understanding, and advice. Three perspectives by hugely respected professionals. wow.

It will all make sense on Friday.

For now, just mark your calendar for Friday 4 Nov. 11am GMT. Whether you are a performing musician or not – this is something that especially musicians, but anyone interested in learning, connection, and personal perspective will find fascinating.

Join us on Friday as we listen to

  • Portland-based cellist Katherine Schultz take us through aspects of preparation and practising.
  • UK concert pianist Jonathan Plowright discusses interpretation.
  • UK mezzo soprano Susan Legg takes us on an in-depth exploration of the first song of Schubert’s Frauenliebe und-leben, and finishes her interview with a glorious impromptu performance of the song.

They each bring the topics we have been studying to life. I interviewed them all – Today I conducted the final interview and am in the process of uploading the audio to archive.org (now) all ready for Friday’s session.

If you cannot join us exactly at 11 am (for example if you live in America and you might be sleeping!), it is perfectly ok to listen later and still join in our twitter conversation. Just tag your tweet with #CClasses and #MUL316 . People will tweet back and I genuinely look forward to the conversation unfolding.

I created this content because of the research project Connecting Classes, but it has become much more a way of learning and teaching for me than a ‘project’. The other day it dawned on me just what is possible with this Connecting Classes project. As a common theme in all connecting classes session, there is some sort of pre-recorded content that the live class focuses on during the session. They engage with it and tweet their notes. (We will be using the project tag #CClasses and our class tag #MUL316 ) In the original version by Jonathan Worth, he used audio content, but others have used video, and I don’t see why a text couldn’t be used – these things are made to be sprouted, riffed on, and remixed. Last semester, I created my own content (with the help of the students) and we used the pre-recorded aspect of the project as a springboard for what we were studying, to focus discussions and to lead us to external connections and resources, but also to connect to our individual interests.

That connection is key in my view.

Take our class for example. In this historical period, Romanticism, there is SO much variation and such a sheer volume of music. One composer wrote 600 songs and another wrote an opera that literally takes close to 24 hours to perform. As a teacher I know it is important to study a topic and all around the topic. How important it is to understand the application of the topic, and digest the topic, and then put that knowledge to use – but sometimes it all takes years to realise and internalise, and it can be hard going as an undergraduate. Sometimes, just sometimes, (just saying), studying the music of bygone times is not the most thrilling aspect of a young performer’s education….

UNLESS IT RELATES TO YOU PERSONALLY.

and oh my goodness, this does!!!

As a student it can be difficult to study the music of an instrument you do not play, read, and analyse, and somehow have it inspire and move you. I want to be inspired and I want my students to be inspired. Textbooks aren’t always the most inspirational, but people and stories, now I love them. Please don’t get me wrong – I am not skimping on the content one bit, and I am a big advocate of research, journal articles, and primary source information. In fact the short interviews that we will listen to Friday morning will supplement and point to further resources and inspire people to make connections. Perhaps it will lead listeners to have an ‘a-ha’ moment of really find meaning in the detail and the process….

Mark your diary. This Friday, 11 am. I will post the content here and will tweet the links. I promise you are in for a treat. You will find beauty, simplicity, and wonderful musical insight.

I am very grateful for the generosity of my guests.

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 image CC BY-NC-SA by philHendley

Featured imageCC-BY by Alan Kuruz

IVTChat 2 Hey Daddy-O! (Talking to parents)

If anyone is joining us for the first time, this session is part of the Connecting Classes project and it is designed to augment conversations between students, and across the wider profession and community. For this reason, you should all feel most welcome to join in! Read more

Connecting Classes

(3 min read) I have been preparing to participate in Jonathan Worth‘s initiative Connected Classes, or #CClasses on Twitter.

Wait, you say-

Laura, you’re not a photographer? What’s your music class doing connecting with Jonathan’s?

Let me explain…

Jonathan initially devised a way of teaching that allowed students to remain individuals, yet also be a part of a class group, and even a wider global community. He would record part of his #Phonar class content, like an interview with a practitioner in that field, and then when it came to the class everyone would listen to the interview. How does that broaden the learning horizon? It’s how Read more