Ran Blake and Film Noir

Huffington College - Thu, 2015-04-09 11:53
An extraordinary improvising musician who styles himself a "noir pianist," Ran celebrates his 80th birthday on August 20 this year. He can look back, and indeed forward, at a life spent entirely in music as a performer and as an educator. Tony Woodcock http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-woodcock/

Innovation Grants awarded to Sistema Fellows

Exploring El Sistema - Tue, 2015-04-07 15:07
During the first year of the Sistema Fellowship Resource Center, I am pleased to announce that the following Innovation Grants (matching funds for projects that advance personal knowledge while also building capacity in the field) have been awarded to alumni of the Sistema Fellows Program: Clara Yang ‘14: Support for... Sistema Fellows Program

A few thoughts on Education - April, 6, 2015

Jose-Luis Estrada - Mon, 2015-04-06 20:41

A few days ago, I visited with students and parents at a local Tulsa Elementary school to speak about music education and our Sistema Tulsa project. I enjoy these opportunities because I can connect and learn from them. I always feel that effective education should be a "from the ground up" or grassroots process if you will—where parents, teachers, and students must all "play" in concert to make it work.

As I shared a dinner in the school cafeteria, I met a mother and daughter who told me that they really enjoyed their school. As the conversation unfolded, I learned that the daughter, a third grader, had a few pieces of constructive criticism to share. She said, I make the Principal’s Honor Roll every time, yet I don’t feel like receive the recognition I deserve.” She believes that the school pays too much attention to behavior management and to her it seemed that doing well in that area carried more weight as far as rewards were concerned. I wonder if the school, or any school for that matter, has a process in place to hear the feelings, attitudes, or aspirations of their students. I know this would not be an easy task given the extraordinary demands teacher face on daily basis, but I learned that even taking a few minutes to hear a concern over a quick dinner can make a big difference to make a student feel included.

This exercise of inclusion can be productive on many levels. First of all, because it recognizes someone’s viewpoint and this can be important in the educational process. When Howard Gardner was in here in Tulsa to lecture on his ideas as part of the Brock International Prize in Education, he explained the concept of “individuation.” He shared that teachers must be conscious of each student’s intellectual profile (I would also add an emotional profile as rendered by the contextual circumstances of their own life). Interestingly enough, individuation is not a new practice. It happens often in the context of personal instruction or tutoring which for the most part only the more economically affluent students can partake in. In urban school districts where poverty might be an issue, all who participate in education cannot shy away from the potential of being as present as we can be in the life of each student. This of course is a parent’s responsibility first but needs to also be balanced among different supporting pillars.

I remember my first piano teacher used to say that it took the participation of the student, the teacher, and the family to reach success. I know that educational leaders often try their best to plan activities where the three can meet and share. The parent teacher conference or the “Rise and Shine” general assembly come to mind. Lately, I witnessed another type of bonding experience—the Music Festival. Around thirteen Elementary schools in Tulsa met to make music together through "Orff" ensembles and choral groups. About 200 students shared the stage with several teachers taking turns at leading the music. The general atmosphere at these events is always one of pride and celebration. It always impresses me to see so many cameras and flashes shining around, as if this were a Garth Brooks concert. But the whole point of the experience goes much farther than the waves that a musical tune can produce or the images that can be captured on a cell phone. This is about the experience of being in the presence of a much more hopeful future. As students sang (and they sang with gusto) you could sense that they felt that they were part of something important. How many times have students left a testing room feeling elated or proud about themselves?

Back to Gardner and his talk, in addition to individuation there was also “pluralization” in learning. This idea has everything to do with finding ways to teach a specific idea from multiple perspectives. There is research to prove that the arts can teach us much more than playing a note in tune or drawing a line with finesse. In fact, there are several experiments around the country having to do with what experts call “expeditionary learning” where mathematics or language can be taught from a musical perspective. I have not fully participated in this but I presume that this would work given I can still remember all 50 states and all the Books of the Bible (since they were taught to me in the form of a song).

Beyond the academic realm, I do think that there are things that only the arts can teach us. The great American jazzman Wynton Marsalis speaks eloquently on this subject. He uses music and swing as a metaphor for inclusion. “Music necessitates listening to and working with others in fulfillment of the requirements of ensemble performance,” he says, “The art of swing is the art of balance, of constant assertion and compromise.” I like the word compromise because it implies trust. And perhaps this is just what we need more of today. We need to find ways to listen better to each other, to recognize that viewpoints which might be foreign to us still matter, and to celebrate our diversity in the broadest sense of the word. I remember the student at the local Elementary school and ponder that this is perhaps why it is so important that we can listen to the most vulnerable of voices because they can teach us how we should lead and how the music should sound.

-Jose Luis
 
 

Chapters

Exploring El Sistema - Fri, 2015-04-03 16:14
What do you think of when you hear the word “chapters”? Some people might imagine parts of a book, or parts of a life. Maybe you think of different groups that are part of a larger whole, like a chapter of a fraternity or other professional organization. These are just... Sistema Fellows Program

Get to know NEC Prep Faculty, Barbara Winchester, voice

Prep Blog Archive - Fri, 2015-04-03 15:48

What advice would you offer to young performers?

Learn how to practice–I hear so many young performers playing a phrase wrongly and who keep practicing over and over that bad habit, take a difficult passage very slowly
and starting with the end of a piece instead of always the beginning.

Apart from music, what other activities do you find enriching in your life?

My husband and I have taken tango lessons for years and are planning a trip to Argentina. I enjoy interior design, art, especially African American artists, Mexican artists like Tamayo, Rivera and Siequieros, and I like reading, especially biographies.

How would you describe the tone of your instrument/voice?

I don’t go for a single tone for all pieces, I like a variety of colors. My sound is rich and unforced.

Who has been your biggest source of inspiration throughout your education/career?

My teachers, my father, for his work ethic and my husband, who is a composer.

If you could choose one career outside of music, what would it be?

A doctor, specifically a pediatrician.

What is your favorite genre of literature?  What’s the most memorable thing you’ve read in the past year?

I love poetry.  After all, it’s my business! I think that students should memorize poems.  When I was in a bilingual (French) school, I could recite many by heart.

I loved “The Giver” and I am constantly reading.

What have you been listening to most recently?

Old tapes and Diana Krall.


Get to know NEC Prep Faculty, Barbara Winchester, voice

Preparatory School - Fri, 2015-04-03 15:48

What advice would you offer to young performers?

Learn how to practice–I hear so many young performers playing a phrase wrongly and who keep practicing over and over that bad habit, take a difficult passage very slowly
and starting with the end of a piece instead of always the beginning.

Apart from music, what other activities do you find enriching in your life?

My husband and I have taken tango lessons for years and are planning a trip to Argentina. I enjoy interior design, art, especially African American artists, Mexican artists like Tamayo, Rivera and Siequieros, and I like reading, especially biographies.

How would you describe the tone of your instrument/voice?

I don’t go for a single tone for all pieces, I like a variety of colors. My sound is rich and unforced.

Who has been your biggest source of inspiration throughout your education/career?

My teachers, my father, for his work ethic and my husband, who is a composer.

If you could choose one career outside of music, what would it be?

A doctor, specifically a pediatrician.

What is your favorite genre of literature?  What’s the most memorable thing you’ve read in the past year?

I love poetry.  After all, it’s my business! I think that students should memorize poems.  When I was in a bilingual (French) school, I could recite many by heart.

I loved “The Giver” and I am constantly reading.

What have you been listening to most recently?

Old tapes and Diana Krall.


MYCincinnati's Ambassador Ensemble

Exploring El Sistema - Wed, 2015-04-01 23:03
The Ambassador Ensemble is a sextet of young Price Hill musicians led by MYCincinnati (founded by Laura Jekel, Sistema Fellow '11) Assistant Director and Cincinnati Art Ambassador Fellow Eddy Kwon. Throughout the school year, this group has been engaging in weekly critical discussions around identity, social justice, power, and the... Sistema Fellows Program

Side-by-Side concert report

Exploring El Sistema - Wed, 2015-04-01 22:58
On Friday, March 20, I traveled to Boston to observe the Longy Sistema Side-by-Side concert and to speak with teachers and program directors who were involved in the collaboration. My biggest takeaway was how great the orchestra sounded. Comprised of students from several Sistema-inspired programs in the Boston area, the... Sistema Fellows Program

Andrea Landin podcast

Exploring El Sistema - Wed, 2015-04-01 22:49
Elaine Sandoval, Sistema Fellow '13, has helped to launch Sistema Global Research, including a series of interviews with El Sistema-inspired practitioners. The third podcast in this series, featuring Elaine's interview of Andrea Landin, Sistema Fellow '13, is now live on the Sistema Global website. Here is an excerpt from the... Sistema Fellows Program

The Ensemble, April edition

Exploring El Sistema - Wed, 2015-04-01 22:36
The April edition of Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth's publication chronicling the emerging field of El Sistema-inspired activity in the US and beyond is found here. Sistema Fellows Program

Entrance Closure, Parking, Summer Work

NEC Construction News - Wed, 2015-04-01 14:51

Dear NEC Family,

As we move closer to the May start date for construction of the Student Life and Performance Center, you may want to attend the April 9 Open Forum session at 2:30 PM in the St. Botolph Conference Room.  Ed lesser, Mike Ryan, and a representative from Tishman Construction will be on hand to answer your questions.

REMINDER: the main entrance to the St. Botolph Building will be closing April 17 (or possibly a few days before that) in order to construct a handicapped-accessible entry way.
•    During construction, you can access the building from the ground level doorway in the parking lot.
•    PREP students and their families will need to use this parking lot entrance beginning Saturday, April 18.

NEW DATE FOR PARKING LOT CLOSURE: the St. Botolph parking lot, previously scheduled to close on May 1, will now be open until Monday, May 4. This means that College and Prep faculty may use the lot on May 1 and 2.

SUMMER WORK:  Construction crews will complete accessibility upgrades in the St. Botolph Building. These include one handicapped-accessible restroom on each floor. The work will not be as disruptive as last year’s sprinkler project.

LONG RANGE CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE: Here is the big picture for the building project timetable.

May 4, 2015: Construction Start Date
May 2015—June 2015: Demolition & Site Prep
June 2015—January 2016: Foundations
January 2016—June 2016: Decks
May 2016—August 2016: Structure Steel & Concrete Exterior Façade
May 2016—September 2016: Interior Rough
September 2016—January 2017: Interior Finishes
August 2016—December 2016: Site Improvements
January 2017—March 2017: Start‐Up & Commissioning
Spring 2017: Construction Substantial Completion
Spring/Summer 2017: Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment Installation by NEC
Summer 2017: Ready for Occupancy

As always, if you have questions, contact Mike Ryan (617-585-1187), Karen Kidd
(617-585-1181) or Ellen Pfeifer ( 617-585-1143).

Benjamin Franklin and the Reflective Conservatoire

Huffington College - Wed, 2015-03-25 08:27
I recently heard a mordantly humorous new take on Benjamin Franklin's most famous quote: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and the immutability of conservatoires." Tony Woodcock http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-woodcock/

"Hot topics" with Eric Booth

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2015-03-19 16:10
In mid-February, Sistema Fellows Program faculty member Eric Booth hosted a conversation on Google Hangouts, joined by Eriel Huang '14, Tatjana Merzyn '14, Megan Moran '14, Liz Schurgin '11, and Xochitl Tafoya '13. The wide-ranging conversation began with Eric describing his recent experiences visiting El Sistema-inspired programming in twenty-five countries... Sistema Fellows Program

Construction Starting Soon–What You Need to Know

NEC Construction News - Tue, 2015-03-17 16:12

As recently announced, NEC will soon begin the construction of our new Student Life and Performance Center! With this note, we are launching a steady stream of internal communications designed to keep you well informed regarding the project. We recognize that aspects of this exciting new campus development will be disruptive; the NEC communications team will do its utmost to deliver timely updates to you across multiple communications channels. Here’s the first round of changes that will affect your on-campus experience:

  • First, the smaller parking lot behind the Jordan Hall building will close April 1, in order to accommodate the removal of the dumpster and other equipment from the St. Botolph parking lot.
  • As you may know, the current handicap-accessible entrance for the St. Botolph building is the parking lot entrance. However, since this entrance will soon close, we are required to build another. Consequently, the main entrance to 241 St. Botolph will be closing April 17 for approximately two-three weeks, in order to build that handicapped access ramp.
  • During these weeks, access to the St. Botolph building will only be through the side parking lot entrance, closest to Rooms G13 and G14.
  • Once the ramp is fully installed, the main entrance will reopen, and the parking lot entrance will close permanently. This is expected to happen in early May.
  • The Botolph parking lot will close permanently on May 1 in order to accommodate the removal of the Annex building.
  • At the same time, the Botolph Street sidewalk, and part of the traffic lane closest to our building will close for the duration of construction, beginning May 1. St. Botolph will continue to be a two way street. Street signage will help direct that pedestrian traffic.
  • Foot traffic will be rerouted to the Matthews Arena side of St. Botolph for the duration of the project.
  • The classrooms 313, 314 and 315; the Opera rooms G13 and G14; the Jazz and CI office; the Health Center; Student Services and the EM offices will be temporarily relocated the first half of May for the duration of the summer. These new locations will be announced in a subsequent e mail.

Here’s how we plan to keep you informed:

  • Open Forum Discussion Sessions will be held March 23rd, 10 – 11:30 am in the St. Botolph conference room, and April 9th, 2-3:30 pm in the St. Botolph conference room. These will be opportunities to bring all your questions to Ed Lesser, Mike Ryan and the Tishman construction team.
  • Effective April 1, our construction blog will appear on the NEC website and will be regularly updated. This will be your information hub for all relevant information; we encourage you to use this as the source of updates. The blog, too, will be a place to register any concerns or questions you may have.
  • This e-mail is the first of a series that will be generated by the communications team, outlining the key events/needs-to-know between now and June 1. Subsequent e-mails will be much shorter! Throughout this period, you can expect to see early warning and/or reminders a week prior so there are minimal surprises.
  • Electronic Signage just to the right of the Jordan Hall main entrance will also keep you updated. Screens will also be installed in the St. Botolph and Residence Hall lobbies over the summer.
  • Our NEC Facebook , @necmusic and @necmusic_today Twitter channels will have all of the latest updates.
  • Articles will appear in the Penguin on a regular basis, and we will partner with Student Services to ensure you are informed and stay safe.
  • For our PREP parents and SCE students, updates will be included in their weekly e-newsletter and other outbound communications.
  • Through all relevant website listings, we will continue to inform concert attenders how this will impact their access to Jordan and Pierce Hall programming.

We’re committed to making this transition as comfortable as possible for all of us, and the disruption as minimal as possible. We’re keenly aware of the big changes ahead, and are very grateful for your patience as we embark on this exciting campus evolution! If you have questions or concerns, contact us at constructionnews@necmusic.edu .

Warm regards,
NEC Marketing and Communications Team

New Boston

Penguin - Sat, 2015-03-14 00:23
by NATALIE ALPER-LEROUX Third-year BM Viola     Chapter 1: Forest Hills             “Got everything?” Caela turned back to scour the empty living room for any straggling possessions. She nodded. “Yep, I’m good.” Her older sister Shannon smiled gently back at her. “Then we’re off…” As they crossed the threshold of […]

Spring Clean Your Body

Penguin - Sat, 2015-03-14 00:14
by ANDREW NISSEN Second-year GD Trombone     If you’re anything like me, your diet the last few months – influenced by the frantic nature of school coupled with the stultifying cold – has been increasingly filled with lucious carbs, voluptuous fats, and temptingly salty and sweet things. With that in mind, the onset of […]

Ignite!

Penguin - Sat, 2015-03-14 00:10
by SARAH ATWOOD First-year MM Violin     Phoenix is a brand new ensemble founded by, and made up of, current and past NEC students. Matt, the director, gave us some time to answer a few questions before their March 24 launch event. What is Phoenix Orchestra, and what do they do? Phoenix is a new orchestra […]

Deepti Navaratna

Penguin - Fri, 2015-03-13 23:57
by ANDREW NISSEN Second-year GD Trombone     NEC presents to us people with such monumental and diverse talents every single day, that it can be a bit mind-numbing when we take a step back and contemplate the impact we can make beyond its hallowed halls. When we do, however, it’s a rewarding insight into […]

Spending Spring Break In The Bean

Penguin - Fri, 2015-03-13 23:44
by ELIZABETH WENDT Third-year BM Voice     It seems that spring may finally be upon us. Maybe. Probably not, but I’m hopeful! The sun has been out these past few days which has led to warmer weather (30° is seriously starting to feel like flip-flops and shorts weather) and fewer layers, and the mountainous snow […]

LIFE IS A LOT LIKE JAZZ. IT'S BEST WHEN YOU IMPROVISE. GEORGE GERSHWIN