http://www.facebook.com/v/10150415619203513 Here’s a video I took of Mr. Ma playing Mark O’Connor’s Appalachia Waltz with DePauw students at The Hub (the centralized non-dorm food court on the DePauw campus). This was supposed to something of a flash mob event though before any of the music students, much less Mr. Ma, arrived, there were already several hundred students filling the Hub to the brim!
There is a much better video of Mr. Ma taken from the floor posted by The DePauw Multimedia here.
Also, a couple of videos of a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20 with DePauw students and faculty at Asbury Towers Retirement Home here and here.
The Asbury performance happened not more than an hour after the Hub appearance!
For some time ASTA (American String Teacher’s Association) has been focusing on training string music teachers to develop Alternative String programs. Last year I had decided that I need to formally join the organization (which I haven’t done yet but still intend on doing) so that I can be better informed about the programs, literature and techniques being created by those involved in the organization.
ASTA apparently has an “Alternative Styles Award competition” which I learned about after reading Rory Williams “Report from an ASTA Roundtable: ASTA roundtable finds alternative-styles education moving a step ahead—slowly” in the Strings magazine from the conference in Georgia in 2009. Here’s what sparked my interest in the organization:
Vighnesh Viswanathan, 14, milled about the exhibit hall with his father and sister at the 2009 American String Teachers Association National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. What set him apart from the several hundred teachers, dealers, and performers that visited that day in mid-March was not just his age, but his name badge, which proudly proclaimed “winner.”
“It’s for the Alternative Styles Awards competition,” he said, smiling from ear to ear.
One of 12 string players chosen out of 35 applicants, Viswanathan, of Westford, Massachusetts, won the Junior Division of the “Recognition of Established Traditions” category. His specialty: Carnatic (Indian) violin.
“He studies classical music, too,” his father says.
Viswanathan is part of a growing number of bilingual string players—those who can play both classical and alternative styles—who are seeking a well-rounded education. But nearly a decade after ASTA first embraced alternative styles as a viable pedagogy, the question remains whether teachers and institutions—from the elementary to the graduate level—can accommodate these students.