In Houston, Texas, on the morning of July 18th, 13 young music students began their second day at the Faith-2-Form (F2F) Music Foundation Music Summer Camp intently focused on making music in a wide range variety of rhythms, melodies, and timbres. In this collaborative composition workshop, they were not playing physical instruments – their musical medium was Hyperscore.
The F2F Foundation, founded by esteemed musician, composer, and recording artist Vel Lewis, is a nonprofit based out of Houston that aims to give all children, particularly youth who have been disadvantaged and marginalized, the tools to enrich their lives with music and to allow them to share their gifts with the world.
An exciting way that this mission is carried out is through the F2F Music Summer Camp, where participants – music students in Fort Bend County – are immersed in two weeks of STEAM workshops and classes led by experts in music performance, technology, software, production, business, psychology, and more.
Given our mission to enable children everywhere to discover and express their creativity through fun and accessible music composition, we are thrilled to collaborate with an organization engaged in such essential work of bringing youth and music together. After New Harmony Line Director of Education Cece Roudabush led an online composition workshop with Hyperscore at last year’s inaugural camp, we were honored to be invited back to lead a more in-depth workshop this year.
Vel, Cece, and our Chief Technology Officer, Peter, joined the 13 students on the morning of the 18th to facilitate the workshop. We began with a group composition exercise to introduce the participants to the basics of Hyperscore. One by one, Cece called on each student in the room to make a small musical decision about a shared Hyperscore piece – should a subsequent note in a given motive be higher, or lower? Longer, or shorter? Should the line move up, or down? Was the piece complete, or should we keep working on it? It was an exercise in showing how many micro-decisions come together to form a whole in the process of making music. Above all, it was an invitation to listen closely – and listen they did, with many students asking unprompted to hear a motive again before making their decision. The students acted together to compose a single piece, and it was wonderful to witness of the power of collaborative composition.
Once the students voted that the collaborative piece was finished, having established the principles of composing in Hyperscore, we moved toward individual composition, each student working on a separate device. The quiet focus in the room was palpable, and they took to using the software very quickly. A lovely dynamic emerged organically during this period of the workshop: the two students who had also participated in the Hyperscore workshop at last summer’s F2F music camp began to assist their peers who were newer to the program. Everyone was engaged and invested using the time available to create their own piece, and supported each other, too – after all, no composition is ever truly a solitary endeavor.
We always come out of workshops having learned from the participants about the various ways people learn music composition together, and more about how Hyperscore can facilitate this process. The speed and enthusiasm with which the campers took to the software was striking, and being able to cover both an egalitarian group composition process and individual composition sessions was a testament to the versatility and accessibility of Hyperscore to support different styles of composition and learning. No matter what level of expertise with the program the campers had coming in, they all came out having focused their creativity and imagination through Hyperscore.
Though the workshop had to come to a close, all students left with a demo version of Hyperscore so they could continue their experimentation and composition at home. We are immensely grateful to Vel and the Faith 2 Form Music Foundation for welcoming us back for the second year of the F2F Music Summer Camp, as well as to all the young composers who made music with Hyperscore!
Special thanks as well to the Harris County Public library for lending us tablet devices for each camper.
For more information on the F2F Music Foundation, visit their website here and get involved with supporting their important work. If you are new to Hyperscore and want to join in on sparking your own musical imagination, set up an account today.