Perspectives from a Guest Musician

Some of you may remember that in December, we welcomed guest artists Marji Gere, violin, Dan Sedgwick, piano and Joe Bentley, bass for a special residency week. This residency had the added dimension that Marji and Dan not only performed on our concert series, they also participated in open rehearsals and gave fresh inspiration to our students at the MLK Center. It was an exciting week for us and our students - what a privilege to have such creative and inspirational musicians dive into this experimental collaboration with us!

Guest musician and teaching artist extraordinaire Marji has composed a beautiful account of the week which can be found HERE. Here are a few teaser quotes to whet your appetite:

On visiting the students of the Newport String Project:

"Throughout the afternoon, students came in for their lessons professing how much they love their lessons, and asking to stay and watch each other learn. Perhaps more powerful than these verbal statements of happiness were the students' beautiful sounds, the sparkles in their eyes, the energy in their stances, their readiness to connect with their teacher, their peers, their instrument and the music at hand."

On teaching

"More importantly, though, my appreciation and understanding of the student - teacher relationship was refreshed. My belief that teaching is a fine art, and a pursuit of idealism and democracy, was rekindled. "

On the incomparable imaginations of kids as they listen to Bach:

"What did my performance of Bach call to mind? Winged dinosaurs. Mountaintop views. Camping trips. Abstract shapes and gestures. Friendship. Sunsets, and much, much more."

On the magic of seeing a cranky for the very first time:

"Each student took responsibility for the calligraphing of one word of Pablo Neruda's poem, "Gracias, Violines". Then…magically…that listening-inspired artwork came to life and started moving, to the live accompaniment of Bach's Largo. "

On musicmaking as a Newport String Project guest artist:

“These rehearsals culminated in a concert for a full house of rapt, appreciative listeners at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport. It was a joy to spend the week in musical exchange with kindred musical spirits, and to live, work, and perform in their magical stomping grounds.” 

Read Marji's complete essay HERE.