Speak Your Music
Mazz Swift, Clay Ross, and Sarah Elizabeth Charles share their backgrounds and processes for creating music.
Jump to section:
- Watch the video in which Mazz Swift, Clay Ross, and Sarah Elizabeth Charles introduce themselves and their musical stories.
- Note how, for each artist, the purpose of music has deeply personal origins. Look at how all three of their perspectives exist in dialogue with one another.
- After watching the introductory video, answer the following questions about how music plays a role in your life and identity:
- What are some of the activities that you like to do every day if you can?
- How do you like to interact with your family and friends? What do you do together?
- When you think about your identity in the world, what do you want people to know about you?
- How does music play a part in how you see yourself? When do you listen to or play music?
Explore Other Parts of Speak Your 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 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.