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Conservatory Lab Collaboration: Phase 2- Workshops Begin

January 30, 2013

In 2012, the Landmarks Orchestra launched an exciting collaboration with the Conservatory Lab Charter School and composer Michael Gandolfi. In Phase 1 of the project, eight Conservatory Lab students worked with Mr. Gandolfi to brainstorm ideas for the piece he will ultimately compose. In these brainstorming sessions students alternated between talking about their ideas and playing them on their instruments. Students would discuss a theme or story and then use their instruments to put those ideas to music. The result was an incredible creative collaboration between school students and an accomplished composer. Proof that music is indeed a common language that has the power to bring people together.

In Phase 2, which began last Friday, students will be attending workshops with Mr. Gandolfi to participate as he begins the composition process. In the first of these sessions, students visited Mr. Gandolfi’s studio to see where and how he works. This workshop was the first of the new year and included instruction and brainstorming in addition to some practice using composition computer software. When I arrived the students were around a computer listening to a complex piece that had been  composed for the Lexington Symphony Orchestra by Mr. Gandolfi. He was using the piece to educate them about the composition process.

Photo credit: Toni Jackson, Conservatory Lab

Photo credit: Toni Jackson, Conservatory Lab

Rule 1: We always go back to where we started

“What are we doing now?” Gandolfi asks as he points to something on the screen I can’t quite see from across the room.

“We’re repeating the same thing as before,” one of the students says without hesitation.

That was the first of many lessons students learned last week, we always go back to where we started. When the music stops the students immediately launch into a conversation about it with Mr. Gandolfi and teacher Rebecca Levi. They marvel at the number of measures. “You guys have never played a piece quite that long,” Rebecca agrees.

Before they leave students have an opportunity to use Gandolfi’s computer software to write a little piece of their own. That is a story all it’s own, and one we’d like to save for next week. Check back then as Phase 2 continues!

CLCS Gandolfi 4

Photo credit: Toni Jackson, Conservatory Lab

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