Speak Your Music
Artist Focus on Clay Ross
Lesson One: Building a Frame
Clay introduces his band Ranky Tanky and talks about the origins of their song “All For You.”
Jump to section:
- Watch the video in which Clay Ross talks about his relationship with Gullah music from South Carolina and guitar playing from West Africa.
- Take special note of how Clay has identified specific aspects of these musical cultures that he is interested in including in his own music.
- Pay careful attention to Clay’s consideration of the differences between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange.
- Now that you’ve heard about Clay’s musical loves and background, think of a song that you love and share some of what you love about it.
- What is the name of the song?
- Who is the author or songwriter of the song?
- Where does the song come from culturally?
- What is the mood of the song?
- What ideas or feelings does the song communicate?
- Are any of the lyrics especially meaningful to you?
- Is there any part of this song that could inspire you to write a new song?
Explore Other Parts of Speak Your Music
Introduction | Express Yourself
Mazz Swift, Clay Ross, and Sarah Elizabeth Charles share their backgrounds and processes for creating music.
Artist Focus on Mazz Swift | Lesson One: Finding a Theme
Mazz shares her distinct approach to using improvisation as a way of generating musical ideas to use in composition.
Artist Focus on Mazz Swift | Lesson Two: Tweaking, Tinkering, and Messing with Your Music
Mazz shares her recommendations for manipulating and organizing basic musical ideas in order to explore different compositional approaches.
Artist Focus on Mazz Swift | Lesson Three: Finished! For Now …
This video features the questions that Mazz uses to determine whether a piece of music is done or requires further editing.
Artist Focus on Clay Ross | Lesson Two: Making It Yours
Clay breaks down how he used source material from the Gullah tradition and West African music to create his original song.
Artist Focus on Clay Ross | Lesson Three: A Life of Its Own
Clay explores how “All For You” evolved into new shapes as Ranky Tanky collaborated with other artists.
Artist Focus on Sarah Elizabeth Charles | Lesson One: My Big Idea
Sarah describes how she uses a big question to spark the idea for a new song that explores the relationship between all human beings.
Artist Focus on Sarah Elizabeth Charles | Lesson Two: My Musical Brainstorm
Sarah demonstrates how she creates a musical foundation for her new piece, and then shapes a melody on top of that foundation.
Artist Focus on Sarah Elizabeth Charles | Lesson Three: Growing My Idea
Sarah explains how her collaboration with a musical friend helped to shape the final version of her new piece.