"I got a lot out of the readings. I enjoyed following along with the scores and getting to know my classmates' music better. I loved meeting you guys - very inspirational. I relished the opportunity to work with some very talented area performers, many of whom I've connected with since. Your Music Bus is a solid idea, with a solid foundation. I have no doubt it will continue, broaden to the West Coast and perhaps beyond---"
--A student composer who participated in our visit to San Francisco Conservatory of Music, September 2015
December 15, 2014
Dear Lisa and Pamela,
I am writing to thank you and sing the praises of Your Music Bus. The performance of the ensemble and coaching comments provided an invaluable experience for my composition students on December 8th at Drew University.
The ensemble took great care in helping students of different levels and stylistic approaches. The ensemble read through the first pieces most of my students had ever composed (The assignment was to compose a piece for soprano, violin and cello). For this reason, many of the students were extremely nervous at the prospect of hearing professional musicians performing their music. The individual coaching and discussions put every student at ease resulting in a noticeable change in each student from fear to excitement. Lisa Bielawa’s compositional coaching was extremely helpful. Her comments helped each student have a better understanding of their composition and ways to improve their pieces. Pamela Stein gave helpful advice to each student on setting text to music. Both Lisa and Pamela gave practical comments to each student to improve their compositional writing. Students who had been reluctant to discuss their music before this event became very comfortable talking with the four members of Your Music Bus at the event. Watching the instantaneous growth of each student was a great experience.
The format of the Your Music Bus session was better then a normal reading session. The environment created was more akin to a composition laboratory. The interactions between Your Music Bus and my students taught the collaborative nature of music composition. A great example of the ensemble’s work involved a student who wanted to imitate the music of a specific cicada in her piece. The Alex Shiozaki, violin, and Clarice Jensen, cello, were fantastic at helping the student flesh out the specific techniques to create the sounds for her work. I have always believed that the willingness to help others is an essential part of effective teaching. Your Music Bus created a wonderful learning experience that helped all of my students.
“Full-Impact Learning” is one of the important objectives of a Drew University education. The reading/coaching session organized by Your Music Bus was an excellent example of this concept. Students who may or may not continue as composers now have a more accurate idea of what it means to be a composer. At a small liberal arts institution like Drew University, it can be more challenging to find student performers to read through compositions by first time composers. Your Music Bus helped to elevate the study of Music Composition at Drew by giving our students a wonderful “hands-on” learning experience.
I cannot thank Lisa Bielawa, Pamela Stein, and Aaron Jay Kernis enough for creating Your Music Bus. This ensemble will truly help any music program fortunate enough to use them. Thank you again for inspiring my students.
Trevor Weston, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Music