Walden Online Workshops

The Walden Online Workshops (WOW!) are a series of lectures, demonstrations, classes, and presentations on a variety of musical topics, presented over video call by The Walden School’s teaching faculty, artists, and special guests. WOW presentations are free and open to alumni of CMR, YMP, OYME, OCME, TTI, and JCC, parents, donors, faculty, staff, artists, and members of the public. Please feel free to invite your friends and colleagues to join us!

Past WOW Events:

FROM THE EARTH: The Materials of Percussion Music with Matthew Gold
Tuesday, February 22, 7:30 PM Eastern / 4:30pm Pacific
Zoom video call

Every musical instrument is informed by its materials and construction; its performance practice, repertoire, and cultural role shaped and eventually codified by these physical attributes. For the percussionist, these issues are still unsettled, and the unique physical properties of sounding objects actively shape the percussionist’s practice. In percussion music, the material qualities of a specific instrument—its substance, surface texture, construction, inconsistencies—can lead directly to the sound, process, and structure of the piece.

In this interactive workshop we will take a close look at the material qualities of the percussionist’s instruments, tracing the path from physical to musical material. Participants will bring their own sounding objects for exploration and collaborative music making.

Chromaticism in Renaissance Music: What living musicians can learn from Gesualdo and friends
Thursday, June 3, 2021 ||  7:30 PM EST

Zoom video call

Presented by Sarah Riskind.

Join Walden Online Workshops (WOW!) for a presentation by Walden School faculty member, choral conductor, and composer Sarah Riskind.

If you’ve heard music by Gesualdo, Marenzio, and Lassus, you might realize that some 16th-century composers wielded flats and sharps to great dramatic effect. In fact, Renaissance music theorists connected chromaticism with specific emotions and even genders! But how can you channel their wacky but beautiful sounds into your own composing, singing, and other musical pursuits? This event will be part presentation, part discussion, and part composition workshop. It will be helpful if you have some background in playing/singing/reading music, but even if you don’t, you’re welcome to come listen and learn! Bring a pencil and some staff paper or blank paper.

This workshop, like all Walden Online Workshops, is free to attend.

Developing a Personal Language Through Improvisation
Thursday May 13, 7:30pm EST 

Presented by Dana Jessen

WOW Presentation with Marcos Balter
Wednesday May 5, 7:30pm EST  

Presented by Marcos Balter

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
7:30pm Eastern/4:30pm Pacific

Presented by Dan Lippel, guitar

Dan Lippel, guitarist and 2019 visiting artist at The Walden School’s Young Musicians Program, presents an exploration of alternate tunings and fretting systems in guitar repertoire as a window into microtonality, well temperaments, and different divisions of the octave. We will hear excerpts of guitar repertoire composed by Ken Ueno, Vineet Shende, Amy Schwartz, Chris Trapani, Taylor Brook, and Paul Clift, as well as Takemitsu, Bach and Dowland. Dan will demonstrate different tunings and temperaments on standard guitars as well as guitars with fretting systems in different equal divisions of the octave and well temperaments.

This workshop is free and open to all!

Sunday, March 21, 2021 || 4:00pm pm EST

Presented by Ted Moore, Walden School Teaching Faculty

In this workshop we’ll train neural networks to control synthesis parameters using regression all in Max. We’ll also cover some basic concepts like, What is machine learning? What kind of data do we need to do machine learning? Why might we use machine learning for music? After the workshop participants will be equipped to envision and execute new music applications using neural networks.

This workshop is limited to 20 participants. Participants should / can bring a Max instrument (synthesis, sampler, or other) that has between 5 and 12 control parameters.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 | 7:30 pm EST

Presented by Nate May, Walden School Teaching Faculty

Perhaps the best-kept secret of music education is this: the top music creators of every genre learn and hone their craft primarily by simply listening to music. It takes work to get to the point where every song or piece you hear can be a lesson, but once that work is done, you’ll never stop learning. So when so much music training is based on notation, where do you begin this process?

This workshop is designed especially for composers, songwriters, beatmakers, and producers who have basic piano skills and are looking to start learning to play songs they love directly from recordings. No theory knowledge is required—I’ve been developing my own ways of explaining and visualizing what you need to know with maximum clarity. Not a creator (yet)? No problem—these skills will apply to you as well.

To prepare: hook up decent speakers or headphones (you’ll want to be able to hear the low frequencies in particular), sit down at your keyboard instrument, and get out some paper and pencil. Looking forward to working with you!

Text Score Teatime
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 |  7:30-9:30 pm EST

Presented by Kittie Cooper

In this workshop, we will explore the creative potential in using text to notate music. We will make sounds and words together, and discover means of integrating text scores into your own creative practice and interests. Whether you are an experienced composer/writer/artist, or whether you haven’t done any writing since elementary-school book reports, this workshop is for you! (no experience with music or writing required). Bring a mug of tea or hot chocolate, and come enjoy a peaceful evening (or afternoon, or morning) of sounds, words, and the company of others.

We’ll be looking at works by some of the following composers: Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Alison Knowles, Mieko Shiomi, and more.

Please bring the following materials to the workshop: something you enjoy writing with and on, paper (different colors or textures are encouraged), tape, scissors (optional), markers (optional), a cozy beverage and/or snacks (silly little sandwiches encouraged).

Implementing Creative Delight
Sunday, February 7, 2021 |  4:00-6:00 pm EST

Presented by Lisa Bielawa, OCME 2020 Composer-in-Residence

Fulfilling our role as creators and artists in our communities during challenging lockdown and social distancing conditions can be daunting. How might we or must we turn our own process on its head in order to fulfill this role? How can we spark the vitality we need to make new work that engages community and participation without access to each other in real space and time?

In this workshop I will share some strategies I’ve used to protect the element of Delight – which leads to creative inspiration – from our current limitations and challenges, after which we will play some creativity games together to send everyone off into a newly energized creative practice.

In a Sound Place
Wed, January 13, 2021 7:30-9:30pm EST

Matthew Gold

Discover the musical potential in the everyday objects all around us in this exploration of found object percussion.  Using materials collected from our environment, as well as our voices and bodies, we will discover new ways of making music together and new modes of listening.  This workshop will trace a history of found object percussion music and will explore strategies for discovering, creating, and notating new sounds made with ordinary objects through works by John Cage and Pauline Oliveros.  Learn to see the whole world as your instrument and be ready to make some noise(s) as we connect, create, and perform together!

Enrollment is limited to 20 active participants and any number of observers.

Wed, December 2, 2020 7:00-9:00pm EST

Caroline Mallonee 

How do you imply the impossible? What parallels can be drawn between visual art and music? What inspiration do we find in optical and auditory illusion?

In this 90-minute workshop, we will discover parallels between mind-blowing works by the Dutch artist M. C. Escher and mind-blowing music by György Ligeti, Steve Reich, Charles Ives, Ruth Crawford Seeger, J. S. Bach, and Guillaume de Machaut. This will be an interactive presentation; in addition to looking at scores and listening, we will have group discussions and do some creative work.

Introduction to Synthesis in VCV Rack
Sun, November 15, 2020 4:00-6:00pm EST

Alex Christie

Have you ever wondered how synthesizers work or where those cool sounds come from? Have you felt like you could make great synthesizer music if you only knew where to start? Have you looked at the prices of synthesizers and been bummed out at the overwhelming expense? Or maybe you have a grasp on synthesis but want to find some new and fun ways to teach it to your students or friends! Well, if any of these sentiments resonate with you, then you should take this workshop.

In this workshop we will use the computer software VCV Rack (free!) to build our own virtual modular synthesizers that will allow us to explore new and exciting sound worlds. We will learn about the basic components of synthesized sound and how these can be sculpted and arranged to create new music. We will learn the fundamental forms of synthesis and discover their creative potential. This workshop is for those who want a fun introduction to synthesis, want to brush up on their fundamentals, or want to learn some new ways of teaching synthesized music. Let’s demystify synthesis and make a bunch of fun noise together! No experience necessary!

Enrollment is limited to 15 participants.