“Music By Degrees” is a collaborative musical project to be completed as a part of a university assessment for a third year keystone unit, Music Project 101472. The project’s overall conceptualisation is centred in drawing together and showcasing the principal areas of the Bachelor of Music program offered by the University of Western Sydney. It is a combination of the significant units, pieces of work and research, and new learnings that aim to summarise the essence of the Music degree coming from the perspective of the current students. These core modules revolve around the areas of composition, performance, and sound technology. The list includes: Tonal and Free Improvisation, Collaboration, Creative studio project recording, Sound Synthesis, Arranging Musics, Text and Visual Interactions and Expanded Practice.
One of the aims of the macro project is to also promote the university course, its eclectic and modern approach to music in general. Its target audience is firstly the general public, and more importantly, potential and aspiring music students who want to develop creative and professional skills by studying at UWS. The program is designed by dividing the participants into sub-groups that will represent each unit or field of work, which is as follows:
- What we came in with (5 mins) – Tim, James, Sezen, Alex
- Free Improvisation (10 mins) – Adam T, Matt, Adam B, Jake, Paul
- Soundscape (10 mins) – Peter, Blaise, Alex, Ben, Thomas, Jeffrey
- Collaboration and Live Music Performance (10 mins) – Laura, Matthew, Jamie, James
- Arranging Musics/Composer-Performer (10 mins) – Chloe, Shanice, Karleigh, Doriela, Cara, Mitchell
- Expanded Practice (10 mins) – Rie, Mary, Gerielle, Amabelle
- What we’re leaving with (5 mins) – Tim, James, Sezen, Alex
Being in one of the sub-groups from the large-scale performance, our team will be focusing on the field of Expanded Practice that harnesses different kinds of media such as live music, film, soundscape and theatre elements. The performance’s transitory title is ‘The Jam’, which is a collaborative work participated by the Expanded Practice group consisting of Rie Manaloto, Amabelle Garcia, Gerielle Guzman and Mary Vargas.
The main theme and/or story of ‘The Jam’ is a depiction of the campus life of a music student in UWS–the typical setting, activities, processes and experiences that a music student undergoes throughout the degree. It demonstrates concisely how a student experiences working on a uni assessment–the processes of composing, arranging music, finding inspiration, collaborating, performing, and just having fun. This undertaking is inspired by a 2007 drama musical film “August Rush”, under the direction of Kirsten Sheridan, and music by Mark Mancina. The film is popular by using raw sounds and other soundscape elements into a remarkably engaging rhapsody of musical sounds, imbued with improvisation and other extended techniques.
‘The Jam’ is divided into two sections. The first section will exhibit a short film about a typical music student’s life and work in university—working on assessment, researching, finding musical inspirations, composing and performing. The film is shot in different locations within the Music area in the university. It features a student, Mary who is in the busyness and haste of completing an assessment and will eventually collaborate with some colleagues to help her carry out the performance.
The second section comprises the live performance, which is the actualization of the work-in-the making presented in the film. It will be staged theatrically in a form of a skit that will give way to the live music and other sound components. It depicts a classroom setting where Mary along with her other friends are immersed in their own little world, and eventually the scene will transition into a musical ‘jam’. The compositional components include a piano, guitar; tangible objects like table, pens, books, computer, books, etc., that will be used to create unconventional percussive, rhapsodic sounds.
The summary of the role each participant will take part in is as follows:
Rie Manaloto – Film direction and editing, film scoring, film supporting act; main vocals, unconventional percussion; composition and arrangement
Mary Vargas – Film’s lead role, film production support; acoustic guitar playing, backing vocals, unconventional percussion; composition and arrangement
Gerielle Guzman – Piano playing,unconventional percussion; film supporting act, film production support; composition and arrangement
Amabelle Garcia – Main vocals, unconventional percussion; film supporting act, film production support; composition and arrangement.
Proposal written by: Rie Manaloto