Wednesday, November 28, 2007
New Thing #248: Good Vibrations
I miss being in school. I loved college so much that going to grad school was pretty much just a ruse to keep being a student (but luckily for many of us, I loved NYU and really did get a lot out of it, like passion and a career). Today, the last day of my extended vacation, I poked around for some sort of lecture, class or seminar I could attend without having to be a student at any particular school. I found exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, and I went to a Master Class at the Manhattan School of Music. Nestled in Harlem just above Columbia and Barnard, the Manhattan School is stomping grounds to some of the youngest, most earnest and most obviously talented people I've ever been in a room with. I was one of only 10 women in a room of about 100 people learning advanced listening skills from jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris, who graduated from the School and is now a seasoned pro, having toured the world and appeared on countless albums. He talked about the emotion of music, how a single chord can not only set the mood for an entire piece, but can describe a person, place and feeling right away. He played more piano than vibraphone, and at one point dueted with a terrified, talented trumpet player who couldn't have been more than 18 (and who, like 85% of the dudes in the room, had unruly hair and a sweatshirt from some cool Music Festival in the Woods). I studied a little bit of music in college, but never like this. I made sure not to talk to anyone; I didn't want my staggering ignorance of music technology to come flooding out, as it would have if I'd been sitting anywhere near the front.