I am seriously committed to educational outreach. With the understanding that "abstract," "formalist," and "contemporary" musics have educational and therapeutic powers, I seek opportunities to bring music I love to people who might not otherwise find it, especially children and youth.
For my daily work, I teach beginning piano, strings, bucket drumming, and vocal/general music to schoolchildren in Minneapolis. I also tutor students in Spanish, math, writing, and study skills.
[Click image to view next painting]
In October of 2014, Duo Gelland and I, in partnership with the Sheldon Museum of Art, brought workshops to middle- and high-school aged students at the Pathfinder Education Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. This facility, run in cooperation between Lincoln Public Schools and Lancaster County, houses children and youth who have sentences pending within the courts.
During these workshops, students were presented with a movement from my piece "Difficult Ferns", and given the opportunity to respond verbally. They were then invited to "paint their listening" as the movement was played a second time [some results of this are visible above]. After group discussion, the Gellands and I helped students to "conduct" their paintings as "scores" that the Gellands were able to play. In this way, we translated their visual interpretations of my music back into sound.
Throughout these workshops, students shared strikingly deep insights, and a capacity for warmth and engaged listening toward their peers. This was especially striking given the trying circumstances these youth were in. I remain profoundly moved by our experiences together.
Composition: Sight, Sound, and Vision
From March to June 2016, I was the project leader for the Six Families Collective's partnership with Emily Kastrul, director of the MenloVIBE after-school program at Menlo Park Academy, an alternative high school in Northeast Minneapolis, to bring weekly workshops in music composition, production, and improvisation to the youth in her program. This program was run in parallel with a similar workshop series in Photography, led by Mohamud Mumin, at the Heritage Academy's after-school program, directed by Soozin Hirschmugl. Both schools are operated by Eastside Neighborhood Services. This project, titled "Composition: Sight, Sound, and Vision" was supported by an MRAC Arts Learning Grant.
During the 12 weeks of workshops, Menlo Park Academy students made field recordings, sang Indian Classical Music with Matt Rahaim, played Ghanain drums with Sowah Mensah, recorded beats with Beatrix JAR, heard and conducted Duo Gelland's violin playing, improvised with members of the Six Families collective, recorded rap demos, and made visual scores out of drawings and collage, among other projects. They also had opportunities for exchange with the Heritage Academy students, sharing two workshops, and attending a joint field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
These workshops culminated in a multimedia gallery show at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, in which scores, images, and recordings from MenloVIBE students were exhibited alongside photography from the Heritage Academy students.