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Cornerstone Course Brainstorming - Higher Ed

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I need to pick the collective genius of the CAD family on a concept for a Junior Cornerstone course for higher ed students.  Briefly, cornerstone courses are team taught, interdisciplinary, and cross-curriculum.  The courses are generally a full semester long and intended to challenge students to stretch beyond their particular major/minor area of study. Note: the institution is Belmont University with a strong music, music business, and entrepreneurial business programs.

 

Here is the concept. A class/community of students would do research on the history of ceramic musical instruments, select  instruments (i.e. (drum,flute, udu, rattle, water whistle, etc.) to construct, actually build/fire their ceramic instruments, compose a musical work using only their projects, and would either record their work or perform it publicly (or both). The rubric for the course would evaluate the research (writing), technical skill (building the ceramic instrument - recording the work), creativity (the instrument & the musical score), musical composition (the score), and the individual and/or collective recorded music.  The likely textbook would be Barry Hall's From Mud to Music.

 

My questions:

  • Does this sound (no pun intended) like a fun/challenging course?
  • What would you add to the course to make it more interesting?
  • What challenges would you anticipate,particularly the ceramics process?
  • Is there already a course syllabus that someone is using at another institution?

Thanks all!

Paul

 

 

 

 

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Sounds like a course I could have gotten into. I read a book not long ago about the history of the world through 100 objects. The course could be something similar to the book.

 

As far as the ceramic end, I can see some possibilities within the technical aspects of clay. Consider the different aspects of clay bodies in different firing ranges. Sound is different from earthenware, stoneware to porcelain. This in itself will bring quite a bit of subjective thought into the course. Then there is dealing with the shrinkage problem to create an on key sound. Should air holes for instruments be drilled when bone dry, or done when wet or leather hard. How about the characteristics of a stringed instrument in the physics of tension on the string. What sort of structure will support what type of strings? These would be definite physics problems that could really get involved on scientific end.

Lots to think about.

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I was involved in a very similar project in the 80's It was great. The percussion and horns were made by Rick Price from Australia. From my memory it was pretty cool! 

 

Belmont huh? There use to be an amazing artist who taught ceramics there. Jason Briggs. Actually I taught there, and was there when we designed the new art building. I never got to use the studio as I received a better job offer and moved. But Belmont would be a great place for this. Hell, any school with a good music department would be. In the 80's it was University of Wisconsin Whitewater and the music students played Ricks instruments and they were pretty good. I think the reed instruments and the horns used some standard month pieces. Some of the drums had thin steel heads. I have made several instruments including a violin, which needed to have an electric pick up on it to really sound good. It never went out of tune!  When its all done it would be cool to see a video of the performance! 

 

  • Does this sound (no pun intended) like a fun/challenging course?  YES
  • What would you add to the course to make it more interesting? Intermediate or advanced levels in ceramics, (no beginners) If so it will be a head ache and the instruments will look and sound like crap!
  • What challenges would you anticipate,particularly the ceramics process? Even with intermediate and advance ceramics students it will be a challenge ..
  • Is there already a course syllabus that someone is using at another institution? Not that I know of. 

Good luck

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Sounds like a course I could have gotten into. I read a book not long ago about the history of the world through 100 objects. The course could be something similar to the book.

 

As far as the ceramic end, I can see some possibilities within the technical aspects of clay. Consider the different aspects of clay bodies in different firing ranges. Sound is different from earthenware, stoneware to porcelain. This in itself will bring quite a bit of subjective thought into the course. Then there is dealing with the shrinkage problem to create an on key sound. Should air holes for instruments be drilled when bone dry, or done when wet or leather hard. How about the characteristics of a stringed instrument in the physics of tension on the string. What sort of structure will support what type of strings? These would be definite physics problems that could really get involved on scientific end.

Lots to think about.

 

All good points,Pres! The challenges associated with the pug-to-pot process may mean that a minimum of one semester of clay class (if not two) are prerequisites for taking this course. Having said that, I have observed first semester clay students make some pretty cool whistles early in the semester.  The jump, however, from a working whistle to an object worthy of recording may be too steep for a student who hasn't experienced shrinkage, cracking, warpage, etc.

 

Thank you for your input!

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I was involved in a very similar project in the 80's It was great. The percussion and horns were made by Rick Price from Australia. From my memory it was pretty cool! 

 

Belmont huh? There use to be an amazing artist who taught ceramics there. Jason Briggs. Actually I taught there, and was there when we designed the new art building. I never got to use the studio as I received a better job offer and moved. But Belmont would be a great place for this. Hell, any school with a good music department would be. In the 80's it was University of Wisconsin Whitewater and the music students played Ricks instruments and they were pretty good. I think the reed instruments and the horns used some standard month pieces. Some of the drums had thin steel heads. I have made several instruments including a violin, which needed to have an electric pick up on it to really sound good. It never went out of tune!  When its all done it would be cool to see a video of the performance!

 

Stephen,

 

I found a Rick Price who is teaching art in New York...not sure that is the same Rick Price, the musician, who has a number of songs to his credit. As common as the name, it may be tough to track down the right one.  I will keep digging.

 

Our paths seem to have crossed in a tangential fashion.  I took a couple of Jason Brigg's classes (as well as a couple of classes from his wife Meagan when Jason took a position at Lipscomb University).  Indeed, Jason is an exceptional artist and continues to be an inspiration to me.  Jason and his family are living in South Dakota now..not sure what (all) he is doing.  My son, Matt Chenoweth, took over the reins of the clay program this last year when Jason left...small world, huh?!

 

There are a few people still around at Belmont from your era.  Jim Meadors comes to mind as an early clay instructor, currently a painting instructor.  I think he came to Belmont right after Adelecia sold the mansion :)

 

Thanks so much for your input.  I tend to agree that students taking this sort of course would need more experience with clay.  There isn't a quick way to gain that sort of experience.

 

Kindest regards,

Paul

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If you have the resources, that process would make a great documentary, or maybe a book dedicated to the entire process. 

 

I do like this idea.  For the moment, I'm just wondering if I would have any hair left after tackling this project with a bunch of noise-making instrument-making-playing students :mellow: .  At the minimum, I would expect to document the project with something like SoundSlides...but you are right, the subject matter suits a video format well.

 

Thanks,

Paul 

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I had several students in a beginning class decide to make Udos. They got to jamming before the critique. sounded great. there also was a group from the music dept at UT Brownsville that gave a performance at the Historic Brownsville museum using Udos

. it was and some other instruments. very good concert.

Marcia

I showed a video or you tube of Frank Giorgini's Udos

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You make as great point @Marcia Selsor.  Thanks for sharing your experience!

 

Aerophones may be too big of a leap, but handbuilt/coil-built rattles, udu's, drums, and other percussive builds might not be such a stretch for a clay newbie.  It might make more sense to have flutes, whistles, ocarinas, and digerado's available for hands-on play (along with appropriate germ wipes, of course).  The class would focus on percussion and any lecture/demo could then go further into aerophone options.  As you pointed out, the fun part is most likely the time when students are playing something that they built  themselves.

 

-Paul

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