The Arts Workshop “Creating a Full-Length Text/Music Performance and Recording” is informed by investigations into a variety of text/music strategies that are also central to my “Beyond Syntax” class. However, this spring recording/performance class is particularly focused on creating a final professional recording. Both classes use collective music improvisation and automatic poetry writing as essential processes to broaden student songwriting skills and to encourage other abstract text/music constructions. So, needless to say, not meeting in person during this period looked like it would put a serious wrench in the proceedings! This spring class was filled with musician/writers with a remarkable range of skills, and they needed a way to share their musical, lyric and conceptual ideas with each other. And as writer/performers, these students clearly needed a different way to present a final “concert” to give the broader community an opportunity to see their work.
The idea of posting their work on Confluence turned out to be the perfect way in which to share their music and ideas in a kind of “virtual concert” setting. Using the common thread of this painful “alone together” moment as subtext, allowed students a very natural to continue their individual and collective sound/meaning making process.
From rapping dogs, to heartfelt R&B Ballads, to long sampled collage works, to ambient sound atmosphere with wonderful video animation, these students have created work with a broad emotional palette in a language that often actually goes “beyond syntax” to chronicle this particularly strange and disconcerting time. I believe this work will resonate deeply with anyone who finds themselves on this page and then clicks play. These quarantine songs are wearing our blues.