The Harvest: A Special Performance with My Exotic Other, Ragavatar, Yehudit

Austin, TX – On Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm, at Ruta Maya, Paul Klemperer, leader of My Exotic Other, and Rick Henderson, leader ofRagavatar, join forces to present, for one-night-only, a feast of musical sounds.  A portion of the proceeds will go to Austin’s own DiverseArts’ cultural programming.  The evening will blend Western and Indian classical traditions with modern jazz and more.  Yehudit, the internationally known and classically-trained Jazz violinist from California, will be featured, along with Naga Valli, the ‘Eastern Soul’ music singer who hails from India, and other special musical guests.   In keeping with the season, the theme of this event is The Harvest – as we give thanks and harvest the variety of musical traditions and talents which enhance our lives.  Music nourishes us, inspires us, and feeds our souls; we’d simply ‘starve” without it.

Tickets: $9:00 at the door, $7:00 advance online purchase, $6:00 with coupon code.  Discount coupon codes can be found by following Paul Klemperer on Twitter and Facebook.

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On Pop Stars and Biscuits

On Pop Stars and Biscuits

Recently a young woman of the American persuasion induced me through blatant coquettery to listen to her favorite song in her ipod rotation.  Her bright eyes and supple form notwithstanding, the designated sonic gem  left me underwhelmed, as I so often am by the secretions of the popular music consortium.

If memory serves, the exemplar in question was one of Justin Timberlake’s latest odes to youthful sexuality, and it sat on my eardrums like an overly moist lump of warm… well, shall we say bread dough?  Yes, bread dough, as it had the potential for nourishment unlike other lumps of organic matter.  Simple bread dough made from a standardized flour milled by standardized machinery fed with genetically standardized grain grown in standardized factory farms and pumped full of standardized petrochemicals.  But bread dough nonetheless, capable once it has been baked in the finishing ovens of life experience, of becoming if not a nourishing loaf, then at least an appetite-abating biscuit.  If one focuses all the acuity of one’s taste buds on the song/biscuit one can detect, beneath the monotony of standardization, hints of the sunshine, rainwater, soil and climate that feed all life on this feckless planet.

Of course I smiled blandly at the would-be muse, mustering enough enthusiasm to mumble one of those superficially affirmative catch-phrases that glue together American speech patterns.  I watched hapless as she popped the earbuds back in and bobbed her head emphatically to Le Timberlake.  The music plucked the strings of her vivacious soul, resulting in sympathetic vibrations throughout her nubile frame.

Were she my protege I could show her such vistas… If a lump of uncooked or at best half-baked dough could inspire such vibrations, it would be a wonder indeed to see the effects of my inspiration upon her… But life is full of “ifs” and “coulds” and so I merely sat back in my cafe chair, sipped my Americano, and let an unheard sigh escape my lips.

Playing In All 12 Keys

Learning To Play In All 12 Keys.  A Practice Tip For Beginning To Intermediate Players.

Every instrument has keys that are mechanically easier to play in than others.  Also keeping track of sharps and flats makes some keys seem more complicated than others.  Reading the scales out of a book is not the same as internalizing them.  To build familiarity and fluidity with these keys, it helps to transfer phrases and patterns that you know from familiar keys into the remaining keys.

Circle of 5ths & 4ths.  Use this cycle to move from familiar keys with fewer sharps or flats into less familiar territory.

Chromatic movement.  When you move a pattern up or down chromatically it still sounds familiar to your ear.  This can help your fingers adapt to the kinesthetic changes (the different “feel” of the pattern in the new key).

Random movement.  This requires your brain to place the pattern in a new key.  If you know how the pattern sits in the new key, your fingers can find it more easily.  For example, if you know the first note is the third of the key, and then the pattern moves scale-wise up… A good mental picture of the pattern helps your fingers find it more easily.

Moving in a variety of ways keeps your attention fresh and helps you fit the jigsaw puzzle pieces together.  There are common scale patterns, rhythmic patterns and chord progressions that you can practice as etudes and then plug into actual songs.  But the exercise of discovering or creating new patterns also helps your ability to look for and recognize patterns.  This will help you become a better sight reader, improviser, and overall musical person.

Examples:

Play Sailor’s Hornpipe phrase in key of C.  Then play it a half-step up, in C#.  Then play it a half-step down, in B.  These keys may seem difficult and unfamiliar, but by telling yourself each note is just a half-step higher or lower than the one you know well, the newly transferred phrase has a familar association and is easier to learn.

Playing familar phrases and patterns trains your fingers to play in less familiar keys without overloading your concentration.  You already have these phrases in your longterm memory, so it’s just a matter of teaching your fingers to play them in new keys.  This is more intuitive than just reading down a page of scales in all 12 keys.  Try playing the first phrase of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in a familiar key like C.  You move from the tonic to the fifth, up a step to the sixth, back to the fifth, then down the scale from the fourth back to the tonic.  You have played every scale tone except the seventh.  If you can play this phrase fluidly in all 12 keys, then you can play all 12 major scales with more confidence.

Music Workshops

Paul Klemperer draws on his background in ethnomusicology, sociology and 30 years of professional performance to present informative and entertaining workshops, lectures and group classes on a variety of topics relating to music.

Some of his presentations include:

Jazz History;

Improvisation In Music: How To Jam In Different Styles;

Warming Up: Connecting The Mind & Body As You Play;

Jazz Styles: What To Listen For;

Latin Jazz: A Pan-American Perspective;

Texas Jazz & Blues;

Popular Music In Contemporary Society: Sound As Culture;

Social Issues In World Music;

Making A Living & A Life As A Performing Artist

Private Instruction

Paul Klemperer teaches individual lessons at the Austin School of Music Monday-Wednesday.  He also teaches at his studio & makes house calls by appointment.  He has extensive background in classical and jazz clarinet and saxophone, music theory, and beginning flute.  Contact him directly for rates and information.