An on-going ensemble class for musicians and non-musicians alike. This is an intermediary class designed to excite students about the power of music, and the fun, excitement and soul-moving energy one receives from performing exciting percussion music with a group of other people. In the spirit of the ancient art of the drum circle, students learn the power of an ensemble , groove, and a well grounded beat – such as a samba rhythm.
The use of re-purposed materials as instruments of music immediately bypasses the uncertainties and occasional fears students can have when initially confronted with a traditional music instrument. Anyone can pick up a stick and beat upon a piece of junk. And since drumming is an inherent human trait, everyone loves to drum. This paves the way for the students to develop a love for performing and to gradually modulate to a traditional instrument. There is also the fact that the students will develop a heightened sense of music-making, which leads them to develop a more broader and open perception of “What is music?”.
The ensemble will first explore some basic concepts: percussion basics (stick grip, height, and motion), general music (rhythm, meter, phrasing, dynamics, repetition, form), the use of junk and recycled materials (families of these materials-wood, plastic, metal, and glass), and the practical and safety concerns of working with these materials.
We will then move onto performing as a member of an ensemble (teamwork and creativity, behavior & posture, class composition, respect for the audience and each other), refinement of listening skills, playing a groove, developing solid time keeping, creating improvisational skills-(both solo and ensemble), counter rhythms and poly-rhythms, timbre (and how it functions in percussion), physics in percussion music, and music notation.
Finally, from day one, the class will experience Knaack’s award-winning HOP (Help Our Planet) holistic environmental education program. This program fuses specific rhythms with succinct, empowering messages designed to help students make personal contributions to a better environment for both the planet and its people. Messages such as “Don’t let the water run,” “Kindness matters,” “Take less time in the shower,” or “Always toss it in the bin”, or “Turn out the lights-click!”
In addition to the focus upon Mother Earth, there will also be a wider focus upon other environments in which the students are involved: ethics, good citizenry, and no-bullying.
This class will have periodic Junkjams (impromptu or scheduled jams with the public using junk materials) and concert(s) for the community and/or school.