Eden MacAdam-Somer, Contemporary Improvisation Department Chair
The Contemporary Improvisation (CI) department is all about discovering and developing your unique artistic voice, regardless of instrument or genre. We study great performers, improvisers, and composers from a broad range of styles, including jazz, classical music, modern music, and folk music from around the world. Classes focus on improvisation, composition, creativity, aural training, and developing personal style through listening to and embodying the musical nuances of great artists throughout history. Studio teachers guide students along the path that best suits your needs, developing skills on your main instrument while allowing you to shape your work around the artists or genres most relevant to your goals. In addition, the CI department will help you develop other important skills: getting comfortable on stage, communicating with audiences, teaching, organizing concerts and community events, like barn dances, jam sessions, or improvisational performances... in the CI department, the possibilities are endless!
CI Master Series
These workshops are a great way to learn more about what we do in the CI department. Each workshop will be led by a different CI instructor or guest, and will feature different approaches to improvisation through various genres and styles of music. All are welcome to attend and participate.
All sessions are at 1pm - 2pm in Pierce Hall
Registration: $40 for the entire series of $10 for a single session. Visit necmusic.edu/prep/registration to register or call 617-585-1130 for more information.
with Lautaro Mantilla
This workshop will be a laboratory of experiments and games, in which we will explore new ways of creating music and interacting with other musicians in the space around us. As part of this process, we will explore the power of the voice and the body as sound generators, and will work with musical instruments and other objects as we create an original, communal, musical work. All are welcome to attend and participate, parents, children, instrumentalists, vocalists, and those who have never played music before…
with Zoe Christiansen
Come learn a tune and its stylings from the Eastern European Jewish music tradition. Instrumentalists and vocalists alike are welcome to attend, as we learn and play together in a true folk band experience. As part of the learning process, we will listen to musical examples, discuss differences and similarities of style, and talk a bit about the tradition surrounding the music. Mostly, we will play together, developing a strong sound as an ensemble as we explore the musical details of the tradition.
with Nedelka Prescod
In this workshop, we’ll begin with vocal warm-ups followed by a seminar on improvisation working with selected repertoire. The selected song will provide an opportunity for participants to re-connect with their personal sound and encourage their unique approach to improvisation, as well as open up possibilities to re-design melodic lines as a form of re-composition and expression of their own distinct style. No experience is necessary to participate – just come prepared to sing!
with Eden MacAdam-Somer and other members of the CI Prep Faculty
As artists, we often find ourselves, and our music, being labeled or categorized, clearly defined as one thing or another: classical or jazz, traditional or modern, composer or improviser. The truth is that we are all incredibly unique artists, and that each one of us has a distinctly musical voice, with our own ideas, experiences, tastes, and interpretations, no matter what genres we tend to draw on. In every moment of our musical lives we make countless decisions about phrasing, tempo, timbre, expression, presentation…the list goes on and on.
Music of the World
Music of the World is a four-semester series of courses, in which we examine works by a diverse group of performers, composers, and improvisers, across cultures and genres throughout history. We will analyze their different approaches and influences, and create our own works based on those techniques. Possible artists/genres included may be Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Charles Ives, Billie Holiday, Roscoe Holcomb, Esma Redzepova, Ornette Coleman, Appalachian and Eastern European folk music, and many others.
Pre-requisite: CE students must have either tested out of or successfully completed Musicianship 1 & 2; Prep students should contact Eden MacAdam-Somer to set up a meeting, in which they will be asked to play a piece of their choice from any style or genre and to complete a basic placement exam in aural skills and theory.
Tuesday, 6:00 – 7:50 PM
Skill Building classes ground students, with a strong foundation in ear training, theory, keyboard, transcription, performance, and improvisation skills. We develop and hone these skills through vocal and instrumental work on our main instruments as well as at the keyboard. All work is practically applied, so that students are instantly able to connect new skills with their instruments. Classes are organized as individual or small group lessons, so that each student can learn at his or her own pace.
Day and Time TBD
Explorations of Style and Improv Through African-American Music
Nedelka Prescod, Instructor
This ensemble will explore repertoire that brings awareness to the music of the African-American journey through time and across waters. Participants will be encouraged to connect and work with their own unique process of improvisation and expression, both instrumentally and vocally, using stylistic approaches unique to the genres while experiencing repertoire as a canvas for freedom and expansion of their style and improvisation on their own personal journey.
All instruments/voices are welcome. A culminating performance will be shared by all.
For ensemble placement and start dates please contact Eden MacAdam-Somer.
Monday, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Jewish Music Ensemble
Zoe Christiansen, Instructor
This ensemble offers the opportunity to listen to, discuss and of course play music from Jewish traditions, with a focus on Eastern European and American klezmer music. We will explore tools that help students learn the material by ear, and discuss ways to question and teach ourselves as we learn from the music directly. Our work together will culminate in a performance, featuring our own arrangements of the pieces that we learned. All instruments and voices are welcome! For ensemble placement start dates please contact the CI Chair Eden MacAdam-Somer.
Sunday, 2:00 – 3:30 PM
Improvisation and Composition Ensemble
Lautaro Mantilla, Instructor
In this ensemble, we will create new songs, compositions and improvisations using different techniques, new ways to read and notate music, and to interact with others. We will be using, among other tools, the voice as a powerful sound generator, and the body as a percussion instrument.
Saturday, Time TBD
Fiddling Workshop and Barn dance
Open community band, led by Eden MacAdam-Somer, calling by Nils Fredland
Fiddling Workshop, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
The workshop is open to all instruments and voices, any age, any level. We will learn a tune, put together an arrangement, and open up the dance with our band.
Barn Dance, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
Everyone is invited to get out on the floor and learn fun and easy dances, led by caller Nils Fredland. Everyone is welcome, so bring your families and friends of all ages. No partners or dance experience necessary - if you can walk, you can dance!
For both the workshop and the dance, all children must be accompanied by an adult.