Spotted in Manila, 2014

Thursday, June 28, 2012

UPLB


Today was our day off from PHSA and we traveled down the campus mountain to the local college, University of the Philippines, Los Banos. We did a day long workshop with the school’s freshman science majors who play in the school band simply because they love music too much to give it up. Throughout the day, I worked to find connections because life as a musician and life as a scientist to show that they can easily connect the two in their studies.
The day started with a lecture exchange between myself and the music instructor at the school. We both spoke to the full class of students (about 25 of them). Angel, the instructor introduced Brian and I to traditional Filipino music and the idea that rather than it being for performance, it is only used for prayer and connection to the spirits of nature. The was a whole new idea to me. Then, Brian and I introduced some American music and the idea of aleatoric composition by composers like John Cage and Terry Riley—a new idea for THEM.
The next part of our day incorporated the ideas we discussed that morning into a rehearsal of “In C” which we performed later for the entire university’s freshman class. From my observation, it seemed sort of therapeutic for the students to be allowed to play a piece in such organized chaos. They loved the freedom they were given with the piece and I could tell they were hoping to do more some day.
That rehearsal was followed by Brian and I joining in on a traditional Filipino dance-song used when a man is courting a woman. It was sweet, short, and therapeutic for ME.
This all culminated in a performance like I mentioned above. The audience was huge and loud which made me nervous, but sure enough, they were extremely respectful as we gave the Philippines premiere of Molly Joyce’s “Blending Music”. The theater was complete with bamboo wall decorations and smoke machines (!!) causing a blackout in the theater, but the show must go on!
I was so proud of the music students for letting their guard down and performing “In C” with such enthusiasm even though it was such a new concept of music. Also, I am pretty confident when I say today was the first ever performance of “In C” on traditional Filipino instruments. But they did it well!!
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