Friday, October 6, 2017

The Orchestra as Ecosystem: Symphony Symbiosis

From Carol Lafayette...

2017-2018 Learning in Concert

The Orchestra as Ecosystem: Symphony Symbiosis 

© 2017 Terry Wolkowicz, All rights reserved 
So divinely is the world organized that every one of us, in our place and time, is in balance with everything else. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 
Balance is defined as a condition in which various elements are in proper proportion or arrangement. Within an ecosystem, balance is key in maintaining a harmonious interaction among a biological community of interacting organisms and their environment. Balance is also a vital component in music. A composer’s concern for balance can be heard through the manipulation of many musical elements including form, melody, harmony, rhythm and texture.

The 2017-2018 Learning in Concert program will explore the concept of balance in music and ecology. The children will explore various ecosystems to analyze whether it demonstrates elements of stability or imbalance. By focusing on ecological instability threatening salt marshes, rain forests and wetlands, the children will identify specific actions or ideas that could help restore ecological balance to these areas. In music, the children will explore balance in classical music—hear how composers achieve balance through the orchestration of musical parts among musical instruments. They will develop a strong understanding of the various instruments of the orchestra and hear how individual instruments, sections and families interact to achieve balance within a piece of music. Children will analyze balance cross-disciplines by determining niche (the musical part’s role in creating balance within a piece of music and the organism’s role in creating balance within an ecosystem), population (number of the same species within an ecosystem or number of same instruments playing within a piece of music), and biodiversity (how many different musical parts transpire and interact throughout a piece of music or how many different species exist within an ecosystem).

In the classrooms, the children will analyze various ecosystems that are in some state of ecological imbalance. Using a large magnetic “Ecostration” board, animal and plant life magnets and sound recordings of various orchestral instruments as their tools, they will orchestrate a section of music that demonstrates the instability found in their selected environment. The children will first determine what level of stability exists in the base with microbes and represent that stability through the selection and scoring of a bass line for their music. They will then analyze the balance of the plant life in the ecosystem and select supporting harmonic material to represent the plant life’s stability. Lastly, the students will add melodic lines to represent the population and diversity of species within the ecosystem. Through classroom discussions and research, the children will identify potential actions or interventions that might begin to restore balance to this environment. With these actions in mind, the children will adapt and change their orchestration to demonstrate the ecosystem moving from a state of imbalance towards a state of balance.

Students will have also have an opportunity to interact with the NBSO Salt Marsh Model. They will work through several scenarios to explore a salt marsh food web and how development, pollution and tidal restriction effects the balance within a New England salt marsh...

Contact Terry Wolkowicz to bring the “Learning in Concert” program to your school!
phone: 508-493-4288


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