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Original Songwriting and Recording

By Simon Zlystra, Reed Andary, Shep Greene, John Hart, Nick Harrison, and George Littlefield, VI Form

Original Songwriting and Recording

Editor’s Note: These reflections and recordings come from the winter St. Mark’s Saturdays course, “Songwriting and Recording.” The course, taught by Mr. Jason Eslick, covers songwriting and composition in electronic and acoustic mediums while getting students started with the art of recording and production. Students worked to come up with a recorded, mixed, and mastered final project.

Simon Zylstra:

Reed Andary:

Shep Greene:

John Hart:

Nick Harrison:

George Littlefield:   (more…)

Into the Mystic with Thunderhorse: a Q & A

By Shep Greene, Steven Landry, George Littlefield, and Cole Schmitz, VI Form

Into the Mystic with Thunderhorse: a Q & A

LEO: How did you form the band and who are the members and their roles? 

Thunderhorse: Our band consists of four members: Steven Landry, George Littlefield, Cole

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Click for “Into the Mystic” live

Schmitz, and Shep Greene. Steven is on the vocals and has been singing since his middle school acting career. He is a member of the Marksmen and choir. George is the drummer, and he has also been playing since middle school. Cole plays the tenor saxophone and has been for seven years. A very talented musician (he is the only person to win the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education’s “Most Valuable Player” two years in a row), he has been integral to the Jazz Band and now serves as its vice president. Finally, Shep plays the guitar. He has been playing since eighth grade, but started getting serious about it sophomore year. (more…)

Voice in Guitar and in Literature…and in Me

By Shep Greene, VI Form

Voice in Guitar and in Literature…and in Me

The guitar is an integral part of who I am. As my skill has progressed, I’ve seen my appreciation and understanding of music progress as well. Over this past year, I began to delve into a more abstract form of music in improvisation. Within this form of my guitar playing, I began to find striking similarities between music and literature. Imagine every note as a letter and every note coming together to form a riff, with all of the respective letters coming together as one word. By the end of a piece, just as by the end of a novel, you’ll have a powerful message to send out to your listeners and readers. (more…)

Becoming a Musician at Interlochen Arts Camp

By Jason Hwang, V Form

Becoming a Musician at Interlochen Arts Campscreen-shot-2016-09-18-at-6-24-04-pm

Not many people recognize the beauty of classical music. I might not deserve to say this because I was actually one of them before this summer. Attending Interlochen Arts Camp was by far the most engaging and life changing experience of my life in terms of the depth of what I learned and how I advanced into a better musician. (more…)

Modern Day Martins

By Jenny Deveaux, V Form

Modern Day Martins

Much like hip hop music, modern day United States culture is based upon movements for change and the spread of continental ideas.

Hip hop was born in the seventies, and first originated in New York City. The genre was developed largely by African-Americans, but evolved to incorporate nuances from other minority groups such as Latin-Americans. Today, hip hop is a multi-billion dollar franchise that has become a symbol of United States culture because it exemplifies a diverse and influential community that seeks to spread tendentious ideas. Artists like Common, Nelly, Macklemore, and LL Cool J use their prominence in the hip hop genre to address today’s issues. Macklemore did this recently in his song “Same Love,” advocating for marriage equality while producing a track that made the top charts in America. (more…)

Open C Tuning Improvisation with the Guitar (Video)

By Liam Monheim, VI Form

Open C Tuning Improvisation with the Guitar (Video)

During the winter season, I was granted an ACE (Athletic Commitment Exemption, or a seasonScreenshot 2016-04-05 21.54.42 without afternoon sports) in order for me to focus on practicing the guitar. I used this time not only to improve my improvisation skills, but to teach myself a completely new way of approaching the instrument. I learned how to play in an alternative tuning called open C tuning. Standard guitar tuning from lowest string to highest uses pitches EADGBE.  In order to make a chord, you must finger the strings with your left hand.  However, when you strum the strings in open C tuning without doing any fingering with the left hand, it creates a C Major chord. This means learning new chord fingerings, but it also opens up a sonic richness in the instrument. (Click on picture to play video)

My solo performance (Click here for video) is a structured improvisation using open C tuning.  By structured improvisation I mean that I follow a similar structure each time I play it but I decide in the moment what, how, and why I play a certain part.

(more…)