Kids Around the Bay

Trista Bernstein on April 5, 2012

Bringing the Masters to Life

Meet the Composer

One of the most entertaining family series is drawing to a close this month. The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra will present the final installment of its Meet the Composer concerts on April 21 and 22 at three Bay Area locations. “We put together these 45-minute very entertaining shows for families. We have a great deal of fun, ” explains Music Director Ben Simon.

The third and final installment of the Family Series will no doubt be highly entertaining for everyone. “I’ve chosen grumpy Mr. Bach with his 20 children, and deaf old Mr. Beethoven … and a real live composer — Gabriela Lena Frank. The concert is three musical dramatic sketches.” Mark Wessels will be charged with bringing Bach and Beethoven to life as Simon delves into the process of writing a masterpiece. “We hear the orchestra performing the piece as the composer strides around the stage … We like to ham it up.”

The concerts will not only be highly theatrical, but of course extremely music as well. The violin soloists will be two sixth grade students, Joseph Wong and Kevin Kim. Also taking part in the performance will be young players from five youth orchestras who will perform alongside the great SFCO players.

“It’s a wonderful chance to get into the ground level of classical music, to learn some basic concepts, and listen to a concert that isn’t as long or as complicated as one of our main stage programs.”

Inspiring the Next Generation

Roger Chase

The Bay Area is blessed with a wealth of organizations that are dedicated to brining classical music to the community and families. One group with unwavering dedication to families is Crowden Music Center. Every season Crowden presents low-cost, informal chamber music concerts through the Sundays@Four series.

“We wanted to create an affordable chamber music series for students and people in our community,” explains the series Director Eugene Sor. “With my own personal stamp on it, I just wanted to inspire the students here in a similar way as when I was a student; which was to see really fantastic chamber music performances.”

Sor is lucky to have tremendous support from great chamber musicians who readily share their craft with young students. “The guests that we get do it largely as a labor of love because they love playing chamber music and they love playing for kids and being involved in the Crowden community.” The final great artist who will present this season is violist Roger Chase with pianist Michiko Otaki. “He’s one of the best violists in the world. We’re just really privileged to have him.” Chase will no doubt finish the season with a bang and meet Sor’s goal of showing the greatness of chamber music.

Sundays@Four "lets kids know that it is cool to play music like that. It can really be compelling music, just as much as Justin Beiber,” says Sor.

So You Want to Be an iTunes Star?

Technology is changing how we interact with music. Musical ideas and lines can be transformed into a performance with a few clicks and a little technical know-how: With the help of Apple’s GarageBand anyone can try his or her hand at writing and recording music.

GarageBand is geared towards making music more accessible and offering tools for just about anyone to become a musician. For true beginners the software will demonstrate and teach how to play the piano or guitar. Once the song is mastered the novice or expert musician can record the piece directly through GarageBand with the aid of a USB port. The software has multi-track and multi-take capabilities for the piano, guitar, and vocal recordings. The full band can be added with the 100 built-in software instruments, before the recording is completed with basic compression and reverb effects.

The latest version of GarageBand has been enhanced to ensure the recordings are as crisp as possible with Flex Time and Groove Matching. Both of these features provide quick fixes for timing and rhythm problems when working with multiple tracks. The new version also has enhanced music lessons that enable the student to be recorded and corrected instantly on the Mac.

Though the software won’t teach musicality or create a prodigy it is a great gateway for any and every one into the world of performing and recording music.