The day that Diogo and I performed at the Tamaca nucleo in
Venezuela happened to coincide with the very first rehearsal of their
“initiation orchestra.” The students, ranging from age 7 to 15, had been
playing their instruments for at most two months and for others about fifteen
minutes. There was an air of excitement as the thirty of them sat down to play
together as an ensemble. While it was mainly strings, there was also
a clarinet, flute, recorder, and, arriving fashionably late, a young trumpet
Their first piece, titled “Levántense”, consisted of two notes – open strings A and D. After a few attempts, they made it to the end of the thirty-second piece, and I wondered what the conductor would work on. Bow stroke? Rhythm? Staying together? He lowered his arms. “Take out your pencils and write a p beneath the first note. Then a shape like this” – he turned his fingers to form a sideways V – “and in the third measure, an f”. Later on came a decrescendo that led back into piano. This is what they focused on for the rest of the rehearsal.
Inspired by this emphasis on dynamics from (literally) day one, I decided to plan a similar lesson last week at Bridge Charter School in Dorchester...
Continue reading on my personal blog.
Sistema Fellow '13