"Improvising String Quartets" Demonstration Videos

From December 28th-30th of 2008, I gathered together a group of students, teachers, former students, and professional string quartet players. The purpose of this gathering was to read through and test the new Improvising String Quartets book. Over a period of 20 hours, each exercise, variation, and quartet was tried. The false starts, the fun, the exhilaration and the powerfully beautiful music were captured on videotape by a Mom.

The sample videos provided here start at the beginning of the book with exercises and variations, continue with quartets and romantic quartets, and finish with the "Aleatoric" quartet.

The Players:

Eric, age 13; Hassler, age 15; Margaret, age 12; Daphne, age 13; Isabella, age 14; Donal, age 15; Rachel, age 17; Mike, age 19; Noah, age 20; Sherri and Max, Teachers; Jessie Montgomery, The Providence String Quartet; Sera Smolen, Teacher, Performer, and Editor of the ISQ book.

Alice Kanack, director
Sally Thurston, videographer

All textual excerpts from "Improvising String Quartets" by Alice Kay Kanack

Beginning Level, Exercise #1 The Rhythm Machine (R.M.)

Purpose: To cultivate rhythmic vocabulary, to learn to create and sustain ...

Exercise #2 The Drone (Dr.)

A revolving Duet Purpose: To explore the creation of melodic ide...

Exercise 3

The basic soccer game Purpose: To provide a way for players to b...

Exercise 3a Melodic Soccer over a Harmonic Rhythm Machine

A basic soccer game Purpose: To use communication skills develop...

Exercise #6 Telephone

Purpose: To heighten each player's ability to communicate a shared musical...