HyperConstellation for Perth

Tod Machover writes: “As part of our Symphony for Perth project, we have invited young people from throughout Greater Perth, in Western Australia, to create original compositions using our Hyperscore software, expressing some aspect of life – and sound – in Perth. Students from elementary through high school, and from the CBD to Narrogin, worked on their pieces from October through mid-December (brought together by Jemma Gurney, the amazing Education Coordinator at the Perth Festival). I was lucky enough to visit eight different schools when I was in Perth this fall, and got to hear all this music as it was developing. Great experience! Final compositions were sent to me a couple of weeks ago, and I have been listening to them ever since to decide how to incorporate as many of these brilliant, vivid musical visions as possible into the final Symphony.

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Hyperscore has starring role at the Toronto Symphony

Saturday evening saw the successful debut of Tod Machover’s “A Toronto Symphony”, described aptly by conductor Peter Oundjian as “the most collaborative piece of music that has ever been written.” Nearly a year in the making, the new work was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony for its New Creations Festival. Scored for a full symphony orchestra, the half-hour-long piece involved thousands of citizens of Toronto who contributed acoustic sample and original compositions. Hundreds of school children composed original music using Hyperscore.

Check out this BBC News video about the project here: Tod Machover: composer’s social media symphony for Toronto.

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A Toronto Symphony workshop (video)

The Toronto Symphony posted this terrific video highlighting a workshop with composer Tod Machover and Toronto school kids who composed music inspired by the sounds of their city. The kids used Hyperscore, guided by a creative group of music teachers. We are looking forward to seeing the curriculum they developed!

Read more about the A Toronto Symphony project here.

Composer Stacy Garrop on teaching with Hyperscore

Composer Stacy Garrop was invited by the Ying Quartet’s David Ying to lead a series of Hyperscore composing workshops for the 2011 Skaneateles Festival. The resulting works were performed by string quartets at the Festival. In an interview with us, Garrop shared some of her lessons learned from mentoring non-musicians to compose music using our software. You can listen to her in the video.

Some key points:

  • Teachers need to be committed so that the kids won’t  just put it down after one day. Teachers who are passionate about the project will communicate that passion to their students.
  • With high school students, you may run into the problem that many students know notation and may try to replicated note for note the music they already know.
  • The visual representations of music in Hyperscore gets kids excited and is helpful.
  • You need to break things down into building blocks. Design lessons around what’s important in music and what’s meaningful in music.
  • The colors helped isolate different elements of music and provide a way to talk about their different functions in the music.
  • People who are already in a creative field really get it.
  • I created lots of exercises to help people learn about the tools in Hyperscore. For example, we did an exercise about range.
  • Everyone needs a goal. Before my first workshop, I gave people small assignment that they can have ready for me to  look at and a goal for the end of each workshop.
  • Make sure you know what the equipment needs are. A good sound system is important!
  • Also really important – You need enough computers so that the kids can be working on their pieces while I’m going around the room. If I have enough time, they can get enough work done during a class to get feedback at the end of class.

Garrop remarked that she found it “very enlightening” to talk with much younger students. Overall, it was a “really fun” experience for her.

If you are interested in inviting Stacy Garrop to lead workshops in your school or organization, she may be reached via her website at http://www.garrop.com/

Musical offerings from Toronto kids

Several hundred school children in Toronto have been giving their Hyperscore programs a good workout, composing music about their city for composer Tod Machover’s collaborative “A Toronto Symphony” project.  Some of it may end up in the Machover’s new orchestral work, to be premiered in March 2013 by the Toronto Symphony. Take a listen to some of the kids’ compositions here.

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“Amazing accomplishment”

As we reported previously, Hyperscore is being used by hundreds of school children in Toronto this fall to compose music for Tod Machover’s “A Toronto Symphony” project. How has it worked in practice? We found out last Friday when Tod met with around 300 kids gathered with their teachers on the campus of Toronto’s College Français. There to witness the occasion was Musical Toronto‘s John Terauds. He writes:

Hyperscore offers synthesized audio output of its own, but orchestrated by a real composer and played by the excellent young musicians on stage, these miniature compositions from pint-sized composers sounded remarkably sophisticated.

Here is one example, from Broadlands P.S. student Nebyou. What you see on the projection is the Hyperscore screen. The crazy doodle is the composition. The music is being played by members of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra:

Terauds says, “I have to admit that the ease with which the user becomes a creator worries me, because it feels too easy. Part of me considers this to be a form of pseudo creation, that only the careful application of pencil (and eraser) to notation paper is real creation.”

But the results have convinced him otherwise:

These children, many of whom I’m sure haven’t had any lessons music theory, were truly and fully engaged with the act of creating music.

Isn’t that what we all dream of?

The fact that their work will eventually find itself performed on the stage of Roy Thomson Hall seems almost superfluous after this amazing accomplishment.

Read John Teraud’s full post here: Toronto school children become engaged composers in Toronto Symphony experiment

A to A: The World in Harmony (Video)

Enjoy this video of a concert of Hyperscore original music performed at the Armenian Opera Theater in February of this year. The music was composed by children in Armenia and America and performed by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and DOGMA, one of the country’s most popular rock bands. The event was co-sponsored by the LUYS Education Foundation and the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan to celebrate the embassy’s 20th anniversary. LUYS Foundation director Jacqueline Karaaslanian explained the motivation for the project:

Hyperscore wakes up the genius within children and instills in them a desire to better understand a whole universe of worlds they had not previously imagined or considered. When children know that their elders and professionals will play their music, they are empowered. This process is beyond encouraging words; it validates children as thinkers and creators.

Read more about the project here: From the U.S. to Armenia, Kids Build a Musical Bridge

When a “DREAM” comes true

We just spotted this blog post by the Armenian rock band DOGMA, about their collaboration with children in Armenia and America that resulted in the creation of four new songs, written using Hyperscore. It’s interesting to see the process from the point of view of professional musicians who were asked to stretch their own boundaries.

Here’s an example of one of the songs that resulted from the collaboration:

Members of DOGMA and Tod Machover mull the Hyperscore songs composed by Armenian and American kids

Read the full blog post: When a “DREAM” comes true 🙂

Hyperscore in Toronto Schools

Hundreds of school kids in Toronto will have a chance to get their hands on Hyperscore and contribute to creating a new work for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The project is the brainchild of composer Tod Machover, who was commissioned by the orchestra to write a new piece to be premiered at the New Creations Festival in March of 2013. Rather than retreat to the solitude of his studio, Machover decided to open up the composing process to the entire city. A group of adventurous and committed school teachers took up the challenge and have developed a most creative and engaging curriculum around Hyperscore. We can’t wait to see what their students come up with!

Here’s the project’s website: A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City

Watch the video:

Music from Skaneateles

We recently received audio recordings of several compositions by participants in the Hyperscore II project for the famed Skaneateles Music Festival. In April and May of 2011, composer Stacy Garrop visited schools in upstate New York, teaching students what it takes to compose music. Stacy helped kids of all ages to discover the music within; participants ranged in age from 10 to adult and included students from A.J. Smith Elementary in Union Springs, West Genesee Middle School and Skaneateles High School, as well as employees of ChaseDesign. The project culminated with the Hyperscore II Community Celebration at the 2011 festival.

We were very impressed by how each piece expresses a distinctive personality and diversity of structure. Click on the gallery images below to see what these pieces look like in Hyperscore. Do take a listen and share your thoughts!