Notes by Dr. Timothy Holley
Sunday, February 25, 2018, Recital Hall, Edwards Music Building,
North Carolina Central University
Fourteen cellists gathered in the Recital Hall of the Edwards Music Building at North Carolina Central University for the North Carolina Cello Society Improvisation Workshop. Dr. Alex Ezerman of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro served as guest clinician, and much of the the 2.5-hour event consisted of group activities focused on playing, listening creativity as “idea derivation”!!
The notion of “creativity” in musicmaking is one of comforting familiarity, and yet it carries with it a necessary underside of terrifying vulnerability and criticism. (After all, don’t we TUNE our open string before we play a one octave scale, much less a complete piece?) It is also no less comforting (or sensible) to imagine ANY moment…that hasn’t already been subjected to “prefabricated, packaged sonic creation”. Who among us believes that “there is NO SUCH THING…as a wrong note?” (Such a question sounds counterintuitive and perhaps even anti-intellectual.)
Alex had no trouble getting his fellow charges to “just make sound”. Seated in a large circle (with NO music stands!!), he led the group in a variety of short-motive exercises geared to develop active connection between the ear and fingers, using already familiar scale ideas “available within reach” (of ear and left hand).
The following outlined listing covers the topics and exercises covered during the workshop: