BES Students Help Jolley Compose Music – Brevard NC


Last updated 4/14/2014 at 10:20am

Mrs. Pauer's fifth grade class. (Courtesy photo)

Lisa Pauer's fifth grade class at Brevard Elementary School was chosen by music teacher Sarah Moser to help create an original piece of music with composer Jennifer Jolley. Jolley works at Ohio Wesleyan College in Delaware, Ohio.

Dr. Miller Asbill, a music professor at Brevard College, came up with the idea for this collaboration with the students.

"I knew what a wonderful teacher Mrs. Moser was, so I thought, is there a way to involve the elementary students and build a bridge from their learning to what we will be performing?" said Asbill. "Dr. Jolley and I discussed the idea, and she was excited for the opportunity to teach composition to younger students, so an idea was born!"

The composition they created together, "Through the Looking Glass Falls," will premier Thursday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Porter Center at Brevard College. The concert by the Brevard College Wind Ensemble, directed by Asbill, is free and open to the public.

To create the piece, Jolley had the class draw pictures representing water. She lives in Ohio, so last fall, the class skyped with her. Skype is a computer program that allows you to see and talk to people that are not present with you, using a webcam.

When the class skyped with her, she showed us different types of musical notation that composers use, including "graphic" notation, where pictures and symbols are used. She then played different songs that had to do with water, and the class wrote down their thoughts, pictures, and notation on index cards. Jolley showed the class how to write thoughts down that would help her compose the piece, such as how loud or soft or how high or low a pitch is. Wesley Franklin suggested the description: "marbles falling on glass."

Later Moser sent Jolley the cards by scanning them into the computer. Jolley then turned the students' drawings into little sound recordings that depicted the card perfectly. She then wrote those musical ideas for the instruments of the College Wind Ensemble. The cards created by the classmates of Pauer's fifth grade class will be shown on the screen in the center as each portion is played.

Pauer's class felt like Jolley did a great job depicting the pictures that the class created!

"It's a very unique work," said Asbill. "Each movement has a musical descriptor followed by the student's name who he or she used to create it. I've never seen anything like it and we have reveled in just how unique each section is."

This project was funded by the Transylvania County Education Foun-dation, Brevard College, and the Brevard Commun-ity Band. There will be a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. in the lobby of the Porter Center, open to the public.

(Malo and Parsons are fifth grade students at Brevard Elementary School.)

Mrs. Pauer's fifth grade class. (Courtesy photo)


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