From 2010-present, David Simons is Adjunct Professor of Cross Cultural Perspectives at Fairleigh Dickinson University in NJ. Lisa Karrer was teaching composition in an Artist Residency for The Little Orchestra Society in Brooklyn. Recently David and Lisa taught master classes in cross cultural and experimental orchestration as part of their performance residency at Binghamton University, NY. This performance was co-sponsored by The Evolutionary Studies and Music departments and featured Schismism: Natural Law, Lisa's piece about Darwin, which was also performed at the University of California at San Marcos. In 2009-10 David and Lisa were guest lecturers in Musical Form and Improvisation at Ramapo College, NJ, and have often given Professional Development seminars for music and art teachers in NYC.
Together Lisa and David teach Music and Performance skills with a focus on Asian percussion for Arts For Kids in Paterson NJ. They have also been awarded a grant from the Arts Council of Rockland (NY) to teach instrument building and musical skills to elementary school students.
In past seasons, David and Lisa have taught at Kripalu Yoga Center in the Berkshires, for the Roxbury Arts Group in the Catskill Mts, in NYC schools for Young Audiences, Midori & Friends, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Manhattan New Music Project, Children's Aid Society, at museums, art centers, and more.
David and Lisa have developed a number of programs for elementary school music residencies:
PROGRAM #1 Homemade Instruments, Music and Performing Techniques:
Students build an orchestra of homemade instruments including percussion, winds and strings, and learn playing techniques for each one. They learn the science of musical vibration, how to use math to compose music, how to read and write musical notes, how to count and play rhythms etc. Students then learn to compose, arrange and play music as an ensemble, creating individual and group scores and arrangements for the instruments. They also take turns conducting the group in improvisational music-making. This workshop culminates in a performance for the school, parents, family and the community. Afterwards students get to take all of their instruments home.
audio: "growing up is tough"recorded at the Dreyfus School, Staten Island w/ D.Simons, L.Karrer, A.Drury, P.Geluso, 2003
PROGRAM #2 Asian Music and Performance Workshop
Students learn to play and perform Asian rhythms and musical patterns including Chinese Gong-Chi-Te-Chi, Indian Tala rhythmic cycles, Balinese kotekan interlocking drum patterns, and Indonesian Gamelan music, sometimes using resources from the Gamelan Son of Lion ensemble. Students also learn to sing and perform the Balinese Kecak Monkey Chant (the legendary dance /drama/ Battle of the Monkey King), and perform Wayang Kulit shadow puppet plays based on American Folklore and the Hindu Epic of Ramayana, building their own shadow puppets and masks to use in the performance. This workshop culminates in a student performance incorporating many aspects of Asian music and performance. Students take home the masks, puppets and any instruments they've built.
Wayang Shadow Puppet Show created and performed by Students
PROGRAM #3 Homemade Instruments, Composing and CD Recording Workshop
Students build an orchestra of homemade instruments and learn to play, compose, arrange and record their own original music. They also have an opportunity to play and record on the Theremin, an electronic instrument invented in the 1920's which is played by motion and proximity. The classroom becomes a recording studio. Students then design and create their own CD labels and covers. This workshop culminates in a "CD Release Party" and live student concert featuring selected compositions from the CD. Afterwards students each receive a CD and everyone gets to take their instruments home.
audio: "Balloon Symphony, with straw oboes and Theremin" recorded at Kripalu, w/ D.Simons & L.Karrer, 2010.
team teaching In 2005 David and Lisa collaborated with instrument builder Ken Butler on a teaching residency at the Avampato Discovery Museum in Charleston, WV sponsored by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. They produced a DVD documentary of the creative process, and a performance at the CLAY CENTER with the students and teachers of the community.
* see the film of our Creative Process RESIDENCY here: