Thoughts on Teaching Humanness Through Music Technology

Check out my first blog post for the CUNY Humanities Alliance

“When we talk about programming rhythm, I ask students to start quantized (rhythmically regular), and gradually give them ideas on how to incorporate irregularity. Each student comes up with different ways of balancing and organizing these forces. When we talk about choosing software, I explain the benefits of each program, but I also ask students how they approach individuality and expression in a world where so many people are working with the exact same tools. I ask them to think about technological determinism, and how the software influences their decisions and sounds. When we talk about digital audio (really fun stuff like file formats, sampling rate, and bit depth), we compare our everyday associations with the words “analog” (lo-fi, warmth) and “digital” (hi-fi, cold, clean) with an actual technical definition: continuous or discrete. They’re surprised when I say that typewriters are digital because they have a discrete number of possible characters, and have interesting arguments against this. One student said that yes, the characters are finite, but that the way a typewrite puts ink on a page and the alignment of each line is always a little bit different.”

“Pole, Steam, Tree, Glass” featured on Composer’s Toolbox

It always feels good to be understood through your music, especially by a stranger. Check out this great write-up on my violin solo by Dan Lis over on Composer’s Toolbox. Heres a few of my favorite quotes:

“Electronics do not have to be grandiose. Instead of creating very complicated setups, or walls of sound, this piece relies on a few key elements that do not enhance the piece–rather, they make the piece what it is at a core level”

“Poetry is not reserved for romantic, lush, melodic gestures. In my judgment, this piece is a series of four succinct, humble poems. They meander a bit, but in essence remain like water flowing in a stream: there is always water, but it is moving at its own pace, on its own time, always downward but never gushing”

CUNY Humanities Alliance

I’m so thrilled to announce that I’ll be starting a new Fellowship through the CUNY Humanities Alliance in the Fall, where I’ll be mentored in community college pedagogy & teaching at LaGuardia CC.

“Part of a two-year fellowship program, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the  Humanities Alliance Graduate Teaching Fellows represent a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences. Working closely with faculty mentors, program staff, continuing Graduate Teaching Fellows, and students at LaGuardia Community College, this new cohort of Fellows will learn pedagogical practices adapted for teaching in community colleges while contributing their own experience and scholarly expertise to the project, the institutions, and the public.”

Check out the official announcement here!

Also exciting: just wrapped up my first string quartet, which will be premiered by the Mivos Quartet this summer at the VIPA festival in Valencia, Spain.

NWEAMO & VIPA

I had a great time visiting friends in San Diego a few weeks ago, and seeing my video at the NWEAMO Festival at SDSU. Here are a few pics:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be attending the VIPA festival this summer in Valencia Spain, where the Mivos Quartet will be premiering my new string quartet w/ electronics!