Piano Studio Class Spring 2013

The focus of the Spring Piano Studio Class was composer John Cage in preparation for the Cage workshop in April.

The class begin with a video of Walk off the Earth’s cover of Roll Up (click the link to view). WOTE is very popular on youtube for their creative covers of pop songs. The musician in the video takes everyday objects, like a microwave door, and loops and layers sounds to make music.

John Cage was one of the earliest composers to use “found objects” to make music. I split the students into groups and asked them to pick 3 objects in the room and make a short composition from them. There were some very creative results. Some used pencils, others used the wall, a trash can and many other things.

We then talked about how Cage used objects like screws, pieces of plastic, rubber, etc. inside of the piano to give it a percussive effect. I let students play prepared piano sounds on my prepared piano app to hear how the hardware effected the sound of the piano.

Some other new ways of making music that Cage developed were “chance music” and “time brackets”. I utilized Joy Morin’s John Cage composer lap book activities so students could create their own pieces in each style.

It was a lot of fun and the students discovered a new way a thinking about music.

– Jennifer Stadler, NCTM Piano Teacher Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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