I had the honor of meeting Mark O’Connor backstage last night at a benefit concert for the Santa Fe Youth Symphony. He is our country’s greatest fiddler, a multi–Grammy winning violinist/composer/educator. The first half of the performance was flawlessly improvised. His on-the-spot compositions included influences of folk music from all over the Americas.
Mark has created a method of teaching string instruments using American music, the American Roots Music Program, which is taught to young musicians at his summer camps in Tennessee and the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
My own book of Music Poetry, Music Is Written, was greatly inspired by O’Connor’s cd Hot Swing! This is great music to wake up to. The violin is soft, but the music is so lively it has one jumping out of bed. It strongly inspired some of the poems I wrote in my book. Double Stop is from when I was learning to play two strings simultaneously on the violin after being inspired by listening to Swingin’ On The ‘Ville. The Calculus Of Sound came from that album’s genius of lightness through speed and simplicity becoming astounding to the ear. His American style was also a definite influence on Chompin’ To The Beat, Summer Swamp, The Indian Flute,The City’s Hum, and Seekers Of Solace. These were written while I was driving across the South and having a true American experience. Mark’s music gave the feeling of folkness that helped me feel rooted to our country’s land and people.
Please use the comments at the bottom of this post to tell me your own stories, poems, opinions and thoughts.
Writing assignment: Write on what physical and emotional experiences you undergo when listening to folk music.
Music assignment: Listen to some folk music and try playing it without any sheet music.
Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltISpYhSsZs
To Order the Book, THE MUSIC IS WRITTEN by Tatiana Pietrzak, a collection of poetry about music: http://rosedogbooks-store.stores.yahoo.net/musiciswritten.html
Or call Rose Dog Books: 1-800-834-1803
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