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Alex Shapiro, composer email

 

 

"Putting the E- in E-nsemble"

syllabus and curriculum



with Alex Shapiro


A big ensemble, making music online
A big ensemble, making music online.

 


 

QUICK LINKS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

An introduction from Alex


Alex Shapiro

 

Below are the links to my "Putting the E- in E-nsemble" syllabus and the related materials, including the CBDNA COVID-19 Response Committee Report of which I'm a co-author and to which I refer in the syllabus. In addition to featuring a ton of helpful teaching ideas, it contains links to resources that may be useful for getting students set up for their online efforts.

I created this course in March 2020 at the invitation of University of Washington's Director of Bands Timothy Salzman, and it was developed throughout the final semester with the input of the UW conducting faculty and participating students. It was designed for college and community band musicians, with the intention of keeping them playing their instruments, keeping them engaged with each other through an ongoing online collaboration, and opening their minds to additional musical skills of composition and improvisation that they may have yet to experience. You can read about it below.

I'm always available as a consultant, or to help you customize the course for your students. And if you ever want to Zoom me in to talk with them, that would be a pleasure!

Additional teaching resources will continue to be added to this page. My colleagues composer and conductor Brian Balmages, conductor and music educator Glenn C. Hayes from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and condutor and educator Timothy Salzman are also available as consultants in conjunction with this course, and their information is included on this page.

Of great interest is that Glenn has created versions of this syllabus for middle school and high school students, and Brian has composed a piece that serves as a "toolkit" of ideas for younger students called, A Little Matrix Music. I'm delighted to be collaborating with these two exceptional musicians, who share my passion for addressing the needs of music education in the 21st century.

Don't hesitate to drop me an email and let me know if anything in the syllabus isn't clear. I'm continually tweaking it, and it's very helpful to me to receive feedback from others! The UW experience was incredibly positive, and I'm excited to see what other ensemble programs do with this!

A newly formed quintet of five baby swallows.
A newly formed quintet of five baby swallows.

 

 

 

 

SYLLABUS and CURRICULUM

 

The curriculum documents are free to download, offered with the hope that they will present an engaging path for ensembles and teachers.

If you would like to have Alex Shapiro participate in one or more of your online classes, she offers a package of the syllabus, the audio track drones, all the materials below, and a Zoom session with the students, for $250. She is available for additional Zooms for $200 for a session of any length.

Composer and conductor Brian Balmages, and conductor and music educators Glenn C. Hayes from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Timothy Salzman from University of Washington, are also available as consultants in conjunction with this course, at the same fee rate; you can read about them below.

 

 

.PDF file of the curriculum
created by Alex Shapiro.

For university students


Syllabus-University level

 

.PDF file of the Shapiro curriculum,
as adapted by Glenn C. Hayes.

For high school students


Syllabus for high school musicians

 

.PDF file of the Shapiro curriculum,
as adapted by Glenn C. Hayes.

For middle school students


Syllabus for middle school musicians

 

.PDF file of CBDNA COVID-19 Response Committee Report


CBDNA COVID-19 Report

 

 

 

AVAILABLE CONSULTANTS

While not imperative, it's helpful to have someone very familiar with the curriculum present at the first class session, to give an encouraging overview of the technical and compositional aspects of the project. Below are the profiles of consultants at the ready to help you!

 

FOR GENERAL CURRICULUM:

 

ALEX SHAPIRO

 
ALEX SHAPIRO

 

Alex Shapiro is known for her genre-blind acoustic and electroacoustic pieces, including a significant catalog of electroacoustic works for wind band for musicians at all performance levels. Published by her company Activist Music LLC, Alex's music is heard daily in concerts and broadcasts across the U.S. and internationally, and can be found on over thirty commercially released recordings.

 

 

Alex has been a lead clinician at many conferences including The Midwest Clinic and TMEA, speaking about creative uses of technology in performance. Among her published writings is the chapter, Releasing a Student's Inner Composer for the 2013 GIA Publications book, Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra, in which she explores ways to encourage expression. Two of her electroacoustic band pieces, Paper Cut, and Tight Squeeze, are included in the GIA book/CD series, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Volume 10. Educated at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, Ms. Shapiro advocates tirelessly for other artists. She is the Symphonic and Concert writer member of the Board of Directors of ASCAP, and serves on the Board of Directors of the ASCAP Foundation and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music. For more information, please visit her full bio.

Alex can be reached at hello@alexshapiro.org.

 

 

 

BRIAN BALMAGES

 
BRIAN BALMAGES

 

Brian Balmages is an award-winning composer and conductor. His music has been performed throughout the world, including premieres at the College Band Directors National Conference, the Midwest Clinic, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. His commissions have ranged from elementary schools to professional symphony orchestras. He is a recipient of the A. Austin Harding Award from the American School Band Directors Association and the Distinguished Alumni Award from James Madison University. His music was also performed as part of the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service with both the President and Vice President in attendance.

 

 

He is a recipient of the A. Austin Harding Award from the American School Band Directors Association and the Distinguished Alumni Award from James Madison University. His music was also performed as part of the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service with both the President and Vice President in attendance.As a conductor, Mr. Balmages enjoys regular engagements with all-state and regional honor bands / orchestras as well as university and professional groups. Conducting engagements have included the United States, Canada, Australia and Italy. He is Director of Instrumental Publications for The FJH Music Company and Assistant Director of Bands and Orchestras at Towson University. For more information, please visit his full bio.

Brian can be reached at brian@brianbalmages.com.

 

 

 

GLENN C. HAYES

 
GLENN C. HAYES

 

Glenn C. Hayes is the Director of Bands and Professor Music Education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Throughout his career, he has been a tireless champion of contemporary music within the music education curriculum. As a 5-12 instrumental music educator early in his career, Hayes was a pioneer by programing music for band, synthesizer and ambient sound and encouraging students to explore the music via composition. He continues to inspire 6-12 musicians annually at the UW-W summer band camps.

 

 

As a collegiate conductor/educator/musician, Hayes has commissioned and programmed music for band and electronics, band and video and band with amplified soloists. He has also created curricula and coached/guided performers and ensembles in the realization of graphic and video scores. Hayes is a member of the Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance Project based in Wisconsin for over 20 years. He has conducted and presented clinics and workshops throughout the world. For more information, please visit this bio.

Glenn can be reached at hayesg@uww.edu.

 

 

 

TIMOTHY SALZMAN

 
TIMOTHY SALZMAN

 

Timothy Salzman is in his 34th year at the University of Washington where he serves as Professor of Music/Director of Concert Bands, is conductor of the University Wind Ensemble and teaches students enrolled in the graduate instrumental conducting program. Former graduate wind conducting students of Professor Salzman have obtained positions at sixty-two universities and colleges throughout the United States. Prior to his appointment at the UW he served for four years as Director of Bands at Montana State University where he founded the MSU Wind Ensemble. From 1978 to 1983 he was band director in the Herscher, Illinois, public school system where the band program received several regional and national awards in solo/ensemble, concert and marching band competition.

 

 

Professor Salzman holds degrees from Wheaton (IL) College (Bachelor of Music Education), and Northern Illinois University (Master of Music in low brass performance), and studied privately with Arnold Jacobs, former tubist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has numerous publications for bands with the C. L. Barnhouse, Arranger's Publications, Columbia Pictures, Hal Leonard Publishing and Nihon Pals publishing companies, and has served on the staff of new music reviews for The Instrumentalist magazine. He is compiling editor and co-author of A Composer's Insight: Thoughts, Analysis and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band, a five-volume series of books on contemporary wind band composers. For more information, please visit his full bio.

Tim can be reached at salzman@uw.edu.

 

 

 

 

FOR GUIDANCE WITH THE TECHNOLOGY
(as well as with music!):

The two gentlemen below ran the curriculum at University of Washington under the aegis of Timothy Salzman, and are very familiar with the process involved in each round of creation, as well as with the software used for working with the audio files.

 

CHRIS MATHAKUL

 
CHRIS MATHAKUL

 

Chris Mathakul is a third year DMA student studying wind conducting at the University of Washington with Professor Timothy Salzman. Prior to his doctoral studies, Mathakul earned a Master of Music degree in wind conducting at the University of New Mexico, studying with CBDNA past president Erich Rombach-Kendall. Originally from Maui, Mathakul has seven years experience as a middle and high school band director in the schools of Hawai'i.

Chris can be reached at mathakul@uw.edu

 

 

 

 

DANIEL FISCHER

 
DANIEL FISCHER

 

Dan Fischer is in his third year in the Doctor of Musical Arts/Instrumental Conducting program at the University of Washington, where he serves as the Graduate Assistant Director for the Husky Athletic Bands and assistant conductor of the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Campus Band. He received his Master in Music Education at Auburn University and his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at Ottawa University. Dan has also served as a band director at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels in Arizona and Washington, utilizing a variety of technologies and strategies that provided his students with creative learning experiences.

Daniel can be reached at dfisch@uw.edu

 

 

 

 

PURCHASE MATERIALS

 

To purchase the package of these related curriculum materials, either with or without an online session with Ms. Shapiro, please CLICK HERE.

After you order you will receive an email with the private access codes and additional helpful information about the course. Thank you!

 

 

 

AUDIO TRACKS



.AIF file of the 15-second, undulating A-flat accompaniment drone track

Alex Shapiro, electronics



shorter drone



.AIF file of the full 2:11, undulating A-flat accompaniment drone track

Alex Shapiro, electronics



longer drone



Coming soon! A complete collection of layered, undulating drones in ALL pitches, each offered with durations of :05, :15, :30, 1:00 and 2:00.



All drones

 

 

 

RESOURCES



.PDF file of eight suggested 6-note sets for use with the A-flat drone


6-note sets



.PDF file of Suggestions for Young Composers,
by Philip Parker




Suggestions for Young Composers



.PDF file of links to technique examples




Technique examples

 

.PDF file of CBDNA COVID-19 Response Committee Report


CBDNA COVID-19 Report

 

The University of Washington featured this project in its May 2020 newsletter. Click below you'd like to read the article about how Director of Bands Timothy Salzman, Alex, and the UW conducting faculty brought the online syllabus to life! The piece includes two audio excerpts from the mid-point of their Spring 2020 class.

 

Making Music--At A Distance

 

 

RELATED MUSIC

A Little Matrix Music

 

A LITTLE MATRIX MUSIC

by Brian Balmages

Written for band and orchestra (both versions are included in the set), this work is a fun musical adventure on its own, and is also designed to be used in conjunction with Alex Shapiro's "Putting the E- in E-nsemble" curriculum. Approachable by beginning students through high school musicians (and further), the piece offers students the opportunity to play and learn about motifs, melodies (developed from those motifs), countermelodies, and dissonant elements.

In addition, students have the opportunity to explore composition and/or improvisation, all part of an amazing project that lets them play, develop basic audio recording and engineering skills, and feel part of a vibrant community of their peers. The end results are new pieces of music as unique as the personalities who have created them. CLICK HERE to learn more about this piece!

 

 

 

VIDEOS

 

Listen to Alex explain the syllabus during an interview she did with conductor Aaron Noe for his WindConductor webcast series in May 2020. The video is cued up at 7:15 to begin with an introduction to the subject as Aaron and Alex talk about new technology, and from 15:25 to the 31 minute mark Alex specifically discusses the course:

 

Alex Shapiro talks with Aaron Noe about the syllabus

 

 

 

Watch the Zoominar hosted by Robert Ambrose in his Digital Directors Lounge series on September 8, 2020, in which Alex Shapiro, Timothy Salzman, Glenn Hayes, and Brian Balmages discuss the curriculum and take questions:

 

Alex Shapiro, Timothy Salzman, Glenn Hayes, and Brian Balmages discuss the syllabus with Robert Ambrose

 

 

 

Alex loves working closely with ensembles.
Alex loves working closely with ensembles.

 

 

CONTACT INFO

The VERY best way to reach Alex is through email, by clicking here Email Alex!

Email Alex!

You can also leave a voice message or a fax at:
(270) 916-0093, and she'll return your call.

Call Alex!

 

 

Alex Shapiro in her San Juan Island, WA studio.

___________________________________________________________

Please do not share these files with anyone
other than those connected with your ensemble
without asking me first. Thanks!

 

 


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