Last Friday the members of the Daily Orchestra Program eagerly welcomed our dear friend and CMW board member Mark Hinkley for the first time in 2015. “Mr. Mark,” as we fondly call him, has been leading us in improvisation activities and helping us to think outside the musical box since the program’s pilot year in 2012. Every week we play improvisation games on Fridays, and Mark’s periodic Friday visits are always a special treat.
Last Friday was all about beat, rhythm, and listening for what might be missing. Mark brought in some very cool drums gathered from all over the world and chose groups of three to improvise with each other on those drums. Jimmyla was assigned the “heartbeat.” She drummed a bold but steady beat on her large drum. Gavin listened intently for what might be missing, and after some thought he added a faster moving repeating pattern. Then, after listening and contemplating what she could add to the mix, Mary joined with her own dotted rhythms complementary to the drumming patterns of the other two. “Mr. Mark” then shook things up with complex, irregular rhythms on his double drum. They were jamming!
The moments I have to step back and admire my students are always heartwarming. As I watched each small group listen to each other and work together thoughtfully to create their own piece of music, I had one of those treasured moments of realizing how far they have come and how much they have grown individually and together through music.
We hope to see Mr. Mark again very soon!