After having been at the Center for Deep Listening in Troy, NY, for about a month now, I can say that this summer has been such a great learning experience for me. My main internship project has been to archive the many boxes of artifacts and media that have been sent from the center’s old location in Kingston, NY, to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I am just wrapping up the first step in the archival process, which is to record each box and the contents inside it, take a picture of the contents, label the box, and repeat. Although this all may sound a bit tedious, I am having fun discovering what each box contains while also learning a little bit more about the history of the Center for Deep Listening. During my break times I keep up with my music by practicing in an old auditorium that no one seems to use; it has pretty good acoustics and it’s nice to be practicing on a stage!
In addition to my archival duties I am working on some Deep Listening projects in preparation for a week long workshop Tomie will be conducting at the Lawrence University’s Conservatory this fall! I’m very excited for Tomie’s visit to Lawrence, and I am looking forward to sharing the Deep Listening techniques with my fellow conservatory colleagues. I won’t get into the specifics of what we are preparing – you will have to attend the workshop to find out!
RPI is a very interesting campus; it is a well-respected STEM university that happens to have this fantastic performing arts venue called the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, or EMPAC. For one of my assignments I was asked to observe and even participate in a doctoral student’s architectural research study at EMPAC, and as a result I was able to take a tour of this very famous building. EMPAC is a large glass building built into a hill, and its main concert hall is this large wooden, somewhat egg-shaped structure that is frequently described as looking like “a ship in a bottle.” I learned that one of the reasons for the concert hall’s state-of-the-art acoustics is due to it being completely detached from the rest of the building to prevent any noisy vibrations. EMPAC also contains two black boxes and a very high-tech theatre. I am impressed with all of the research and activity going on at EMPAC. Here is a link for information on EMPAC’s design: http://empac.rpi.edu/building
In addition to my internship I have made it my personal goal to experience all of what New York has to offer. I enjoy traveling around Troy and the Hudson River Valley as it is so beautiful to explore the hills and forests. I also had the opportunity to travel to NYC twice now. The first time was with a Lawrence friend to attend a free outdoor concert by the New York Philharmonic. The second time was visiting the famous Times Square where I saw the Tony award-winning musical “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel! I was so psyched to see this musical as we read her book during my Freshman Studies class and she even came to visit Lawrence and give a lecture on it in 2013. The musical was phenomenal and very emotional; you could tell how much it affected the audience as we left the theatre. I also was able to experience a wonderful concert by jazz guitarist Russell Malone and his quartet at the Village Vanguard, a legendary jazz club. Lastly, I have plans to see an all-Balanchine performance by the New York City Ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, which is located near Troy.
My time in Troy has been busy but fulfilling as I continue to learn more about Deep Listening and find the different ways it can apply to my daily life. It has helped me to expand my definition of music and has inspired the many different ways I can improvise on my instrument. I look forward to what the remaining weeks here will have in store for me!