Schafer, sound education in Rio de Janeiro

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Thanks to the generous invitation of Adriana Rodrigues (an unbelievable force for anti-colonial music education in Brasil, Latin America and beyond) I just finished a week with a group of teachers in Brasil at the Conservatorio Brasileiro de Musica.  I was very lucky to have another great Brasilian music educator, Marisa Fonterrada, join me for two of these days, in part to celebrate the release of her new translation of Schafer’s Hearsing.  I also had the amazing teacher, activist and human being, Beth Dau, translate for and teach along with me.

I was asked there to lead classes on Schafer’s philosophies of sound education.   These teachers also charitably allowed me (a Canadian) to facilitate some of Augusto Boal’s (from Rio) work along with some very intense and grounded conversations about Paulo Freire.  I have been trying to critically reflect on Schafer’s ideas and their connections to Boal, Freire, and other anti-colonial pedagogies: although listening pedagogies (Schafer, Oliveros) might help bridge a gap between a privileged distance of sight and abstraction and the more embodied senses and ways of knowing we do not all hear similarly (Dylan Robinson) and the differences might be essential to address.  This has been an academic exercise.   These teachers’ ideas, contributions, and reflections from this week grounded these ideas, and many others, in ways that I am not sure I can never hope to do.  For this I am so very grateful.  I am struggling to know how to process their thinking and their willingness to share difficulties, joys, and resistance from their lives.

Thank you my friends!

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Lima, Peru July/August 2018

Workshops at FLADEM 2018 LIMA.  Along with my good friends Matias Recharte and Neil Dallhoff I got to teach, walk around Miraflores and Barranco, record some waves, and interview two giants in music education:  Violeta Hemsy de Gainza (Argentina) and Marisa Trench de Oliveira Fonterrada (Brazil).

Hardware Store Sound Treasure Hunt/Jam

Find objects that make the following sound:
-quick, hollow, rhythm with descending pitches as you pull
-ting ting
-loud clunk followed by a shift
-gazonk, gaaaazooooonnk
-low and quiet rumble that gradual can get a bit louder
-boom, bap, boom, bap
-sssssssssssssssssssss…….
-rickaty rickaty rickaty, rack, rack, rack

Gather it all in the back corner and create an ABA format piece.

focussed listening

Listen.
Reflect, breathe, journal, discuss, record
What is the furthest sound you can hear?
What sounds are close by?
What is the quietest sound you can hear?
Which sounds are noisy?  Which are “musical”?
What is your favourite sound?  Which location sounds best?  Share it with others.
Is there form in what you are hearing?
What do you hear?  What do you like?  What might you change?
What was the earliest sound you remember hearing?
What sounds from your life are now lost?

I just had an amazing and creative week with 5 to 16 year old string players at Cadenza Summer Music Week in Winkler, Manitoba.  Improvisation games, compositions with the trees and wind, compositions of Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros and R. Murray Schafer.  Thank you Rochelle, organizers, teachers and students!