Artist Focus on Mazz Swift
Mazz shares her distinct approach to using improvisation as a way of generating musical ideas to use in composition.
Jump to section:
- Watch the video in which Mazz Swift introduces her approach to composition through improvisation.
- Note where Mazz has outlined the three different approaches to “notating” music:
- Playing by ear
- Creating a graphic score
- Using a digital audio workstation (DAW)
- After watching Mazz’s video, follow the steps she has outlined to begin your original piece of music:
- Record an improvisation (instrumental or vocal) using your phone, computer, or other recording device.
- Play back your improvisation and select three ideas that you want to use in your new piece of music.
- “Notate” or learn the three chosen ideas by either a) playing by ear, b) creating a graphic score, or c) using a digital audio workstation like GarageBand or SoundTrap. Note: If you are interested in getting started with SoundTrap, visit the website to create a free account that will allow you to record and start editing your music in just a few steps.
Replay parts of the video as many times as you need in order to complete this assignment.
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 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.