I had a great time this week at Indiana State University. I have been there the past 5 or 6 summers for the Lilly Fellows Summer Institute, so I already know my way around there.
I spent the week teaching and sharing with education classes - primarily elementary education majors. I spoke about the Lilly Fellowship program and how I have received $36,500 from them since 1995, my love and passion for teaching, tips-advice-warnings and also a number of songs and games they could use in their everyday teaching. I made them a nice set of handouts of advice from my fellow teachers in Seymour, plus advice for new teachers from my fifth grade students. I made a CD for the professors that had me singing every song, along with ways to use them in a regular classroom.
In the first class I was getting ready to teach and heard a scream. It was a former student of mine who is one of my favorites over my 36 years. She and I had a hugfest and it was a fun way to begin the week.
I also had time for some professional development and spent part of Wednesday morning with our own Dan Powers. I wanted him to look over my Rivertown scores and give me some feedback. Dan is an accomplished composer and I knew he would be helpful and he was! I am so new to scoring for a pit orchestra, that I knew I was not getting it "right" or following the traditional "rules" of arranging.
Dan was very gracious to this newbie and gave me a number of very helpful tips. A recurring theme was that I needed more variety in my harmonies and rhythms. I often was using in the strings only in their higher registers and not utilizing their lower ranges. He pointed out that in some cases I should use more courtesy accidentals to avoid playing mistakes.
In one Rivertown song, "Dirty Business" sung by a slave catcher, he let me know that what I had scored for the strings was not easily done. I had them doing a section in pizzacato, with arco playing immediately after. He said it might be difficult to pull that off and showed me that the woodwinds could do that part just as well, and he was right.
So it was a great session and Dan drove through some deep snow to get to the campus for our meeting. My arrangements for Rivertown will be much improved directly because of Dan and I thank him again, publicly.
I also got to work with someone I knew in the publications division @ ISU. Emily is also a photographer. I was able to use her large format printer to print some 24 x 36 & 20 x 30 prints from my most recent Lilly project.
You can see some of what I printed - big size - here:
The multiple image Indiana posters were fun to make and I used iPhoto and a program I just found called Posterino to lay them out. It is a great program that I will be using a lot.
All in all a great week and always nice meeting a fellow Garritan forum member.