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Speak Your Music

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.

Your Assignment

  1. Watch the video in which Clay Ross talks about the evolution of the Ranky Tanky song “All For You.”
  2. Note how Clay describes the contributions from each of his bandmates as they write their own parts for the song.
  3. Note how “All For You” takes on a life of its own as it is performed by different guest artists, such as Bobby McFerrin.
  4. Find a friend, family member, or teacher, and share your song with them. Ask for constructive feedback:
    • What is working with the song?
    • How can you try to hear this song in a different way?
    • What changes might make the song even more exciting, interesting, or meaningful?
  5. Once you have feedback from your friends and family, make any changes or adjustments to your song based on what they said.
  6. Make a recording of the final version of your song using your phone recorder, or any digital audio workstation (DAW) software you might have available. SoundTrap is a good option that is free through the internet.

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 One: Building a Frame

Clay introduces his band Ranky Tanky and talks about the origins of their song “All For You.”

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 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.

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