From the Archives: Lines in Melody

For my first blog post on my revamped website, I chose to bring back an archived post.  This one describes an idea I had, a colleague with whom I collaborated, and the details of our project.  Thinking back, it was a lot of fun to do something completely new and I learned A LOT about building an event and combining art from the ground up.  Enjoy the post and check out Lauren’s page to see what she’s been up to since our project together!


June 4th, 2013

This weekend marked the first success of an amazing arts partnership!  

About two years ago I met Lauren Parker Lasater–we both worked at a coffee shop in Old City.  In between brewing fresh coffee every 8 minutes and switching over the pastry case, we discovered that not only was coffee a shared interest but also the arts.  I had just graduated college and was balancing a steady income job with freelancing and teaching private lessons.  Lauren had recently returned from spending 3 years teaching English in Japan and she also was seeking ways to further develop her painting and artwork career.

Around the same time I met Lauren, I came up with the beginnings of an idea centered around music and art collaboration. The idea incubated for nearly a year and a half.  The idea sat in the back of my mind.  Every music performance I heard, education program I participated in or observed, and art exhibition I saw over the course of that year and a half, I used as food for thought.  Finally, around January of this past year I decided to contact Lauren and get the ball rolling.  After countless weekly coffee dates, idea exchanges and rehearsals, we were ready for the show!  

The idea behind our Lines in Melody partnership rests on the commonalities between people, a given subject and, the use of the individual’s medium to represent the commonalities.  Our first show, A Spontaneous Escape, highlights the basic building blocks of music–13 intervals spanning from perfect unison to perfect octave.  Each interval has different moods or songs that are used for description and aural identification.  Lauren and I discussed each interval and its respective mood/song(s) and then proceeded to work on our artistic representation of that interval, that mood.  

I composed 13 improvisatory etudes to highlight each interval–my first take on composing.  My process for composing consisted of silently brainstorming ideas, turning on the recorder and playing, and then submitting my recordings to Ben Mulholland, my fiance, for transcribing.  He has spent hours transcribing my recordings into Sibelius and will spend many more–I cannot thank him enough.  

Some of my main inspirations for each piece were quotes from the given songs (ie: Somewhere Over the Rainbow for the perfect octave).  However, I intentionally only included snippets from each representative song so as to preserve the originality of each composition and to maintain a certain level of personal exploration of mood associations, rather than spoon feeding memorable songs.  In addition, I wanted to create a sort of homage to my horn students at Play On, Philly!  They have been incredibly inspiring during their first year of learning horn and they love to play and quiz each other on melodic intervals.  My compositions draw on exercises I use in their daily warm ups and also include rhythms and technique nuances that I know they will have fun with.  This summer, I will continue to edit these etudes and look to publish and present them to my POP and private students in the fall.  

Lauren painted 12 pieces in various sizes (unison as the smallest, octave as the largest) for our first Lines in Melody show.  The middle interval–the tritone–was painted by Lauren in front of all show attendees while I performed the music for that interval.  She had about 10 minutes each night to work on that painting of the collection.  It was her first time painting live for an audience which added even more excitement to the show.

In looking back at the whole experience, Lines in Melody was more successful than I could have ever dreamed it to be.  I am a huge advocate for music serving as a form of self expression and individuality.  To me, the typical recital atmosphere creates a barrier between the audience and the performer.  However, performing at the Papermill Community of Artists and under the format Lauren and I chose allowed each of our art forms to breathe and be appreciated for what they are.  From an education standpoint, Lauren and I learned a lot from each other about our art forms.  The audience learned a lot too–I was under the impression that very few of them were artists of any kind but all were eager to learn about the creative process behind Lines in Melody.  Conversations about arts education, budget cuts and their effects on the arts, and the effects of early childhood arts education resounded through the theater at the Papermill.  From a performer’s standpoint, I had a lot of fun playing my own compositions and am looking forward to seeing all of them completed and edited.  It was a great experience to have the opportunity to hear the audience perspective and learn which of my compositions spoke to people the most.  I also am glad to have had the chance to meet new people in the city who appreciate the arts and to have our first featured article highlighting our performance (above first Friday and 3rd Ward announcements no less) in the local arts newsletter called Art for Art.

Although a few things concerning the project are up in the air, one thing is certain–this is not the last show!  So keep on the lookout for Lines in Melody updates and future shows!  I will be adding a calendar of events to my page where you will be able to keep track of this collaboration.  However, if you want to make sure you are kept in the know, please send me a message through the Contact page of this website.

Last but not least, Lauren Parker Lasater is a fabulous artist and I am so glad for our new partnership.  Her 13 Intervals collection is absolutely stunning and there are still some paintings from that collection for sale.

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