36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 208: Teaching with sound


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 208 — Teaching with sound
26-February-1972 (Samstag–Sat.)


Student at synthesizer 1976

Mixed day of work with practicing and El. Musik. The horn seems to be going somewhat better.


Influence of Prof. Kaufmann. A normal day of practice and work in electronic music. Normalcy in 1972 Vienna. More exciting, is the work I did with students a few years later. My Vienna experience from Prof. Kaufmann’s course was a satisifying and great influence in my future composition and teaching.

Students are creative. The opening picture shows a student, Nancy (grade 8), at the Electrocomp synthesizer in 1976. When given the opportunity, students can be extremely creative. The picture below shows a student, Bill (grade 9), exploring sound manipulation techniques with microphones and tape recorders (just like musique concrète in Vienna).

A student explores sound manipulation

Teaching with sound. A few days ago, I talked about the musique concrète techniques used to create and manipulate sound. This experience influenced me in my future work. When I later became a middle school instrumental music teacher, I won a NJ State grant to create an electronic music program to let students experience musical creativity through musique concrète, electronic music, and filmmaking. In this program, I had developed two large bound notebooks, hundreds of pages, of materials and handouts that were used by the students. There were diagrams of sound, musique concrète techniques, music concepts, how to splice, musical form, and so on. These notebooks were lost long ago. Wish I had them.

Bicentennial learning. Students learned the principles of music through sound, using the same techniques I used with tape recorders and an electronic synthesizer. The kids loved it and were proud of their work. They had a great chance to be creative in music. In 1976, the culmination of their work was a one-hour Bicentennial presentation to the entire school, featuring electronic music and musique concrète compositions, original films, historical narrative, historical and avant-garde slide projection, and modern dance. The students were great! Their work was presented at several educational conferences including MENC, the Music Educators National Association. I’ll try to post a few new digital slides of the students.

Instrumental music teacher. Here are a couple of pictures of my instrumental students in middle school—my primary job. I had to provide the local newspapers with the photos and news articles of our performances (photo journalist). I had two bands, orchestra, jazz band, and small group instruction. The students were all great and performed extremely well. The jazz band, below, was one of two middle school bands invited to the Glassboro Jazz Festival (a college festival in New Jersey) and they received the very highest of praises from the judges, who couldn’t believe that young kids could play so well. I made them wear jackets and ties and sit up straight. Happy

Teaching is a difficult profession and a rewarding profession. Thank your children’s teachers, today.

Picture 1 - Student violinists.

Student violinists

Picture 2 - The student jazz band.

Student jazz band


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