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Monday, December 11, 2017

Composer incorporates math and art in McBain music | Cadillac News

Photo: Karen Hopper Usher
"Composing is alive and instrumental music isn't just recycled from the past" summarizes Karen Hopper Usher, Cadillac News.

Composers like Andrew Perkins are constantly writing new tunes for young musicians.

The challenge is to write a piece of music that gets kids to really think.

Andrew Perkins, a music teacher and composer,
wrote \"Gradients,\" which McBain middle school
band students will perform in January at the
Michigan Music Conference.
Photo: Courtesy
In January, middle school band students at McBain Rural Agricultural School will perform Perkins's piece, "Gradients," at the Michigan Music Conference.

When Perkins saw a Cadillac News article about McBain's upcoming performance, he contacted band teacher Heather Wiggins to congratulate her.

He also had a proposition — He had a recently completed composition. Would her students be interested in debuting the music at the conference?

Yes, they would.

"For composers, performances at big conferences are a big deal," Perkins said. "It's kind of a win-win."

Perkins, who teaches music in Fenton, near Flint, understands the complexities of finding music that's appropriate for middle school musicians, suits the instrumental make-up of the band and is entertaining.

A lot of middle school band literature isn't written "about anything," Perkins said. It's music for the sake of teaching a specific musical concept.

Perkins wanted to teach something more sophisticated, he said.

He settled on the idea of gradients, which has different but related applications in mathematics, physics, philosophy and art. The mathematic concept of "rise over run," is something kids tend to learn in middle school math, he said...

...perform Perkins's pieces at the Michigan Music Conference in January. Besides McBain, Warren Mott will perform "Alcatraz" and Okemos will perform "Asylum," which is about the old asylum in Traverse City.

Source: Cadillac News

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