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The Musical Kaleidoscope Class Project uses contemporary video technology to present classes for music education. We have designated five "classrooms."


Classroom 1 - Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments From Around the World - As an example, this is a class that we filmed at Rising World in Nashville in 2013. It features the renowned accordionist Jeff Lisenby demonstrating the features of his instrument and telling us about the various accordion traditions around the world.

Accordions 101 with Jeff Lisenby


Classroom 2 - Songwriting

Nashville TN, where we are home-based, has held the distinction of being the world's songwriting capitol. Other than Stockholm, Sweden, few cities boast a large songwriting community.

Drawing on the great songwriting talent in our city, video classes in the Songwriting Classroom will be taught by experts who will demonstrate the craft of songwriting, using examples. Many important features of songwriting such as meter, formal analysis, melodic and poetic tools, and harmonic progression will be taught in this video classroom, in addition to important discussions exploring the history of songs and the important vocal traditions from world cultures. Additionally, vocal coaches will give guidance to help songwriters perform their material.

The Musical Kaleidoscope Songwriting Classroom will add an important element to music education, as songwriting as an art and skill has not been normally included in most general music education offerings of the past.

Our Book: Songwriting for Dummies by Jim Peterik, Mary Ellen Bickford and Don Robertson


Classroom 3 - Classical Music Composition and Study

This classroom will contain video classes about classical-music history, composition and analysis. Classical music study publications from the courseware section, using color coding to show how melodies and motives are developed, will come alive when the music is added. Using video techniques, the formal structures of important musical compositions can be explained by instructors, using instruments to demonstrate how orchestrations are accomplished, and keyboards to demonstrate topics such as chord usages, progressions, cadences and modulation.

On the list to be be covered are symphonies by Haydn, Beethoven, Bruchner, Scriabin, Ropartz and Sibelius. Much can be learned from these masters.

This is a simple example video that demonstrates how music can be aligned with a music score using video technology.

Tomás Luis de Victoria - Vexilla Regis (Hymn)


Classroom 4 - North Indian Classical Music - Raga and Tala

I began my studies with the late renowned musician from India Ustad Ali Akbar Khan in 1967. I was one of his first American students. In 1968 I authored the first tabla instruction book, published by Peer-Southern International. As a student of the important traditions of raga (melody) and tala (rhythm) for over 50 years, I am excited to bring forth this classroom for the presentation of instruction about one of the world's most important musical traditions of all time.

These classes will be original in their approach, as my goal is to help young listeners appreciate and understand this amazing, uplifting, enchanting, fascinating and intellectually stimulating music. Instead of focusing on learning to play native Indian instruments, we will focus on teaching the fundamentals of melodic and rhythmic art to aid students in gainning an understanding of this music through listening, grasping expanded scale exploration and rhythmic techniques of a great music, whose masters of the past developed these techniques further than was accomplished in our own Western culture, which focused instead on melodic development and the expansion of harmony.

My Tabla Book (1968)


Classroom 5 - Documentaries, Interviews and Master Classes

Important musical cultures are alive here in "The South" where we live, and we intend to send a team of young people out to interview important members of the great Southern roots traditions to capture their performances. Additionally, we have been accumulating footage showing how music is produced and recorded in Nashville's great studios.

The following is a short example from a session at Nashville's famed Ocean Way Studios. Taylor Swift's producer, Nathan Chapman, is overseeing a recording session where arranger Carl Marsh is recording strings for the song "Strong Enough" sung by Masha (See Masha's You Tube Channel).

Recording Strings in Nashville's Ocean Way Studio


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