by Aaron Richmond & Victoria Stanton, Artists-in-Residence, Faculty of Education
This was a Music-Education dual degree class. We went into the class on November 24th, 2017 and talked about “constructivist” approaches to art making, i.e. working with basic elements, and experimenting with spatial parameters. We gave them all a basic layout plan of the atrium space and asked them to come to our second meeting with instruments in hand. They were also meant to draw a “propositional sketch” which would outline an ensemble of 3-4 instruments within the space of the atrium.
In the atrium, we did a number of warm up exercises in which they “attuned” their instruments and voices to the material conditions within the environment. We explored the properties of “rhythm” as a sonic texture ( musical consistency) rather than a strictly regulated meter. The students were asked to sound out for one another in the space, and to develop conversations within a musical environment that would allow for other conversations to enter.
In the second part of the exercise, we took three different ensemble concepts, and used them as a prompt for three differentsoundscapes.In between each ensemble, the group came together and discussed the previous exercise and made slight adjustments to our working methods. For example, we banned ourselves from the piano which we considered too much of a “compositional” (as opposed to constructivist) sound machine. We also limited ourselves from speaking to one another in the process. The last piece we did we moved into the stairwell and made the logic of walking up and down the stairs our central musical prompt.
Our emphasis was on what Victoria and Aaron were thinking of as a dual opening – one towards the pre-existing musicality of the space, and one towards the potential musicality of others who might want to enter. This was a very special class – and the teacher Lisa Lorenzino, to her credit, really had the group primed for this kind of camaraderie.