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Syracuse University to Host Music for People Weekend Retreat April 17-19
Music for People (MfP), a global pioneer in experiential, inclusive music education, will hold its first weekend retreat at Syracuse University.
The retreat will run Friday, April 17, from 6-9 p.m.; Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Most of the activities will take place in Crouse College, home of the Setnor School of Music in the University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
The program is open to students and graduates of MfP’s Musicianship and Leadership Program (MLP) and experienced MfP players.
Syracuse University students are invited to a public workshop on Sunday, April 19, from 10-11:30 a.m. No music experience is needed. The workshop will cover improvisational games and activities that can be used in educational and clinical settings.
“We’ll set up two large spaces—one for free play and one for electives,” says Alina Plourde, director of MfP-Syracuse, adding that the electives will span Indian and steel band music as well as modal blues improvisation. “Attendees will have many opportunities to collaborate with one another, facilitate their own small groups and experiment with different styles of music.”
Plourde is an Eastman-trained oboist who teaches in the Setnor School. She says the retreat targets musicians of all ages and abilities, including singers; string, woodwind, brass and string players; percussionists; and those who play experimental or multicultural instruments.
“Attendees may bring as many [acoustic and electric] instruments as they want. An assortment of small percussion instruments and djembe drums, along with a piano, will be provided,” she says.
Special guests include Theresa Chen, a jazz piano instructor in the Setnor School; David Knapp, an assistant professor in the Setnor School and the School of Education specializing in multicultural music education and community music-making; and Shahzad James, a local tabla player.
Through a special arrangement with the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, MLP students can make studio recordings of themselves with MLP graduates.
Since Grammy Award-winning cellist David Darling co-founded it more than 30 years ago, MfP has acquired a worldwide following among music teachers, performers, arts therapists and wellness practitioners.
At the heart of MfP’s humanistic mission is free improvisation—a method of playing that is open-ended and devoid of rules.
“There are no wrong notes. Everything is fair game,” says Plourde, who oversees an MfP pilot program in a local homeschool cooperative. “Music for People techniques are used in classrooms, hospitals, community centers and healthcare clinics.”
MfP offers a variety of weekend and weeklong workshops as well as MLP, a three-year training program for aspiring MfP facilitators.
“Whether you’re classically trained or can’t read a note, Music for People enables you to improvise in almost any genre. It also helps you tap into your authentic voice, adding richness and depth to your music,” Plourde says. “Regardless of your skill or experience, you’ll get something out of the weekend.”
All events are free; however, registration is required. To register, visit https://www.musicforpeople.org/wp/events-music-improvisation-workshops/syracuse-graduates-retreat/