• Subdivision, Simple Meter

    Note: this is the first in a series of posts about the musical subjects I am working with in my classrooms and thinking about as a teacher and musician. If I continue long enough, I’ll eventually index and categorize them. Each one will include a subject, some notes, descriptions of some activities and  some target […]

  • Guided Improvisation Sessions

    As we returned to (mostly) in-person teaching and learning, I found myself wondering if I could create a short class that would actually work best remotely. I thought about things the internet does well, like encouraging a feeling of connectedness while simultaneously allowing users to be completely isolated. To exploit this paradox, I began teaching […]

  • Ostinato of 3 + cross-rhythms

    As fall approaches we begin to think of bonfires, homecoming games and ostinatos with cross-rhythms. No? Ok, me neither, but how about some ostinatos with cross-rhythms anyway? I was hoping you’d say that. I recorded a slow meditative track with an ostinato (repeating pattern) of 3 against cross-rhythms of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. […]

  • Improvisation Workshop: Finding Your Sound

    Ever hear some music, maybe a jazz pianist who has a great command of the instrument, or a piece by Debussy that seems to take wing, and think, “If only I could improvise like that!” I have felt that many times, and I still enjoy trying to capture and take inspiration from the sounds created […]

  • Subtraction

    In the Drop-in Wednesday morning class series, I realized that I had been doing a mathematics run. The first week was about addition. The next was about division. So last week, I decided to try subtraction. (Can you guess what is coming this week?) We worked with a series of 8 beats that gradually whittled […]

  • Divisions of 12

    To warm up for this one today I let a gesture or movement unfold as slowly as possible until it reached its limit. I tried to wait until I was really ready to begin a new one. I sometimes resisted an impulse or two so that I could really listen to what my body wanted […]

  • Beat-Division-Multiple Series in 4/4

    Here’s the series we did at the end of today’s drop-in class. It is somewhat of a classic. It’s in simple quadruple time (for example, 4/4). One measure of beats, one measure twice as fast, another measure of beats, one measure twice as slow. In 4/4, then, it would be 4 quarters/8 eighths/4 quarter/2 half […]

  • Quadruple and Triple Time

    Another reaction game, this time with a musical signal. You will hear music in a meter of 4 (e.g. 4/4). If you hear a division of 3 on the 4th beat, the next measure will be in a meter of 3 (e.g. 3/4), for one measure only. There are many possible ways to interact with […]

  • 5

    Measures of 5 are most often broken up into groups of 3’s and 2’s. (The classic model is Brubeck’s “Take Five”.) In this activity, I play with length and placement of those groupings. The simplest way to interact with the recording here would simply be to keep track of 1 within the measure of 5 […]

  • Amphibrach: Augmentation and Diminution

    Well, if that isn’t the most wonky title for a blog post… It’s less fancy than it sounds. This is an augmentation/diminution activity for the “amphribrach” rhythm, sometimes called “syn-co-pa”. In 4/4, the rhythm could be written quarter-half-quarter. (The rhythm could be notated in any simple duple or quadruple meter, like 4/4, 2/2, 2/4, 4.8, […]

Writing about music and music education from a Dalcroze perspective: