Page 4 - Quarter Notes - May 2020 - Quarantine Edition
P. 4

 Quarterly Newsletter - Volume 2
“Without missing a beat”
Andrew Brown, Music Director
In a profession where performing, rehearsing and teaching are the foundation of our work, we are dependent upon our eyes and ears, in real time and space, with our students. Although distance learning for the performing arts is uniquely challenging, the resilience
of our faculty and students has led to a successful transition. I am witnessing inspired teaching and patient learning at
every level, and I remain proud of the high quality music education we are accomplishing.
My daily Troubador
rehearsals, classes,
small groups and one-
on-one sessions continue to cover a wide range
of areas including musicianship, theory, music history, musical styles, diction, vocal pedagogy and repertoire. We focus on skills in audiation, listening and reading fluency as much as possible. The boys have been recording themselves on a weekly basis and sending them to me for assessment.
To keep the choristers focused, we have continued our ongoing work, Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, preparing for a future performance. Although we recognize the uncertainty of public performing at this time, the boys have responded well. We have
May 2020
PBA Choristers: STILL rehearsing, STILL growing, STILL finding their voices.
also taken this opportunity to learn new repertoire, and have sight read and studied Durufle’s Requiem, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Orlando Gibbons’ The Silver Swan. The fact we can work on brand new music in this environment is a testament to our teaching process and the skills of our boys.
I have taken this opportunity to indulge myself and our choristers with music history modules exploring
  composers who stretched
the boundaries of style and technique. We have listened to excerpts from Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, Brahms’ First Symphony, Listz’s Tone Poem Mazeppa, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Reich’s Clapping Music. Concepts we have explored include minimalism, motives, chromaticism,
tonal ambiguity, polymeters, primitivism and polytonality.
To help the boys track the wide range of topics and activities they are presented with on a daily basis, I have a new webpage ( where I post the material we cover in our rehearsals allowing them to revisit topics and activities.
Going forward, the boys will be embarking on a couple of recording projects. Our first will be Rachmaninoff movement 6.
If things go smoothly in this first effort, we will do more. Please keep your eyes and ears open for more virtual concerts and watch parties in the near future.
   Ableton Live Recording Course
March 13th was to be the launch of our first Young Producers Group Collaboration and Listening Party, with founder Lawrence Gray; then unfortunately, we had to close the campus! We are in awe of how incredibly fortunate and auspicious the timing was. Gray had come up from Los Angeles to teach the first class, and since it is intentionally set up as a distance learning platform, it is perfect fit.
Mr. Leo is facilitating the Ableton elective class and reports that all the students are eager to use this tool and are spending much of their time creating music. One of the exercises
Lawrence taught, along with Mr. Blum on the 13th, was how to create a song in one hour. Hear the song and learn more about this program on the Ableton Live page located on our new website. While geared for highschool students, our day schoolers have picked it up seamlessly, because of their knowledge of music theory.
Please let us know you are interested so we can keep you informed. We plan on offering parent/child courses too in the future. Also, thanks for GoFundMe’s donation of computers; we were able to send students home with new macbook pros in order to create music with Ableton Live, and to use for their Zoom classes and academic work.

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