The Directed Study – Songwriting Performance Studies Ensemble is a course designed to similar to an independent study. With the guidance of the faculty director, the writers assume a leadership role providing all material, rehearsing the band, dedicating parts for the players and communicating to the ensemble the musical interpretation of original songs. The lead student submits the approved application and proposal and is responsible for leading the rehearsals, delegating responsibilities, communicating week-to-week goals, planning the final performance, and promoting the final performance. Throughout the semester students will perform and arrange original songs with extensive rehearsal time on each song. There will be a performance at the end of the semester with a polished set featuring the students' original material. The assigned/selected faculty is responsible for mentoring the lead student in their directorial role, and assisting students with coordinating equipment and/or performance needs with the Ensemble Department and/or College, as necessary.
The directed study application process is as follows:
- Attend mandatory directed study meeting held during each midterm week
- Complete online application
- Complete detailed proposal
- Audition and assemble a full band
This course enables students to enhance their ensemble-playing skills, deepen their knowledge of a particular style and its associated repertory, and develop their individual performance identities. Students develop their ability to create and perform music in a particular style. Working under the direction of a senior faculty member, students complete exercises that enhance their intonation, articulation, and improvisational skills in an ensemble context. Students learn to maintain stylistic integrity by developing their awareness of the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic practices associated with a particular repertory.
This class is a small contemporary ensemble consisting of synthesizers and other electronics, typically along with a rhythm section composed of drum set and electric bass. The ensemble develops a concert-ready performance based upon improvisation, extended performance techniques, sound design, and grooves.
The Downtempo Electronic Ensemble studies and performs work from classic downtempo electronic artists as well as original work in the genre. Working as an ensemble as well as in smaller groups, the students attend weekly rehearsals and present an end-of-semester concert performance. Students perform music by artists such as Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Tycho, Bonobo, Loscil, Air, the Album Leaf, Kygo, Flume, Massive Attack, Morcheeba, Thievery Corporation, Ulrich Schnauss, Zero 7, Robert Rich, Emancipator, and more. In addition, students perform original works and explore improvisation techniques in ambient, downtempo, and related styles.
The Mashup Performance Ensemble explores sample-based performance in the style of Daedalus, Madeon, Girl Talk, Justice, Moldover, and more. A variety of controllers are used used including grid, keyboard, and others. Repertoire focuses on both composed and improvisational frameworks. Asset collection and strategic planning for recontextualizing samples of previous recorded music are incorporated into the process. Mashup styles include dance floor as well as more experimental directions along the lines of Venetian Snares’ mashup of classical works.
The Future Pop Ensemble focuses on music of contemporary electronic artists who incorporate vocalists such as Disclosure, Kaytranada, Mura Masa, AlunaGeorge, SBTRKT, Little Dragon, Major Lazer, Moderat, and James Blake. This ensemble explores the evolution of electronic music in the mainstream touching upon genres such as garage, UK garage, deep house, trop house, 2-step, electronica, post-dubstep, indie pop, nu-disco, and alternative R&B, as well as other parallel genres. Working as a full ensemble as well as in smaller groups, students attend weekly rehearsals and will present an end-of-semester concert.
The Electronic Hip-Hop/R&B Ensemble performs songs in the style of current hip-hop and R&B popularized by such artists as Drake, The Weeknd, Tenashe, Travis Scott, and FKA Twigs. In this ensemble, students develop the skills to incorporate current technology with traditional performance that is required for this evolving genre. Working as an ensemble as well as in smaller groups, students attend weekly rehearsals and will present an end-of-semester concert.
The Global Electronic Music Ensemble studies and performs the music of pioneering and contemporary electronic artists who draw inspiration from combining world music traditions and multicultural instrumentation with modern beat-making aesthetics. This ensemble examines music from various regions and countries, such as Asia, India, South and Central America, and the Middle East. Artists such as Bryn Jones, Talvin Singh, Mozani Ramzan, Shpongle, Ott, Zavoloka, Linda George, Banco de Gaia, AeTopus, Zingaia, Métisse, Yat-Kha, and more are featured. Students perform covers as well as original works and explore improvisation techniques in this ethnic electronica style. This course emphasizes stylistic diversity as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy. Working as a full ensemble as well as in smaller groups, students attend weekly rehearsals and present an end-of-semester concert. In addition, students gain experience in performing and improvising in an inventive, groove-oriented setting.
Students in this class will develop proficiency using a Monome open source grid controller and a laptop computer to perform in solo, duo, and small ensemble settings. The class will explore techniques and develop repertoire using freely available open source software, and/or software developed by class members. Strategies based on representative literature using practice session material will prepare students to use the system to perform in a variety of musical performance roles. Emphasis will be placed on developing associated listening skills.
An open forum for development of live performance multi-instrumental duo/trio ensembles consisting of electronic, electroacoustic, and acoustic sources. The class splits into a number of smaller groups working on two compositions and playing in class on a rotating schedule for discussion and critique. This course uses a variety of instrumental approaches such as controls surfaces, audio/MIDI processing, MAX/MSP patches, and any instruments.
The Turntable Ensemble focuses on composing, improvising, and performing music that incorporates the turntable as a musical instrument, informed by the traditions of hip-hop, jazz, soul, and other related styles. In this course, students participate in weekly supervised rehearsals. Students gain experience in performing in a variety of styles and settings. This course emphasizes stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy.
The EDI Showcase Ensemble is made up of advanced level EDI players focusing on innovative performance techniques. Players work with complex performance systems and instrumentation, including customized software and a variety of controllers. Students perform original works and explore improvisation techniques in a variety of electronic music styles, as well as take on special projects. Working as a full ensemble as well as in smaller groups, students attend weekly rehearsals and will present an end-of-semester concert.