Passing our knowledge and experience to the next generations is an obligation, as they say. However, in my personal experience I have found that moments, hours and days spent teaching, can be just as inspiring and joyful, as playing on the stage or sitting behind a mixing console. Teaching forces me to systematize my knowledge, compose my thoughts and sculpt my foggy ideas in ways that I can clearly explain to my students or an audience. The responsibility to hold their attention keeps me really focused and their reactions motivate me to stay up-to-date in all the diverse fields I work in, as a music professional.
My educational programs cover various subjects:
I pass on my 35 years of experience, tips and tricks as a classical soloist, symphony and opera orchestra player at masterclasses or private lessons.
I know well from my own experience how difficult it is for classically trained players, (both amateurs and professionals) to make their first steps in the world of jazz. Or indeed any genre that requires improvisation. In my program I help musicians (regardless of their age or ability) to step over this threshold, and to get rid of their inhibitions. I show them that improvisation begins with tiny trivial things to free their mind, but it will change their overall attitude to music and music playing in the long run. Improvisation is not something one can learn before doing it. It is something musicians have to dive in and dare to try.
We start with basic improvisation exercises, liberating and encouraging the students to approach music with a loose mind. As they gain their courage, we get acquainted with the fundamental theory of jazz chords and structures. The students become more familiar with the basic patterns and licks that go into an improvisation. At the end of the course, we rehearse and perform a jazz arrangement that includes not only arranged choruses , but improvised parts as well – so the students can practice their new skills and show off to an audience.
The structure and program of this course is much like “Jazz improvisation basics for wind players”, but I expand it with some basic bass theory. This prepares the tuba players for the task of joining a jazz band in a bass function as well.
During my professional career I have worked a great deal in film music productions as a musician, but also as a sound engineer. Combining this experience with my life-long interest in film music I developed a training program for “Animation Sans Frontières”. This is a lecture/workshop-based training program, aimed at young European animation film and production professionals. In the course I approached the subject from a filmmaker’s point of view, rather than examining it from the perspective of a film music historian. The program examined the basic functions of film music, the composer’s time-frame and gave practical advice to film-makers. This included tips on to plan the overall musical framework of the film and to communicate effectively with composers and musicians. I illustrated the functions with film excerpts of the greatest masters (or the worst). Finally, the students summarized and challenged their new skills in a live studio session with guest musicians. Their task was to compose music on the spot for an animation short. At the end of the course, directors were able to use the music in a more conscious way and find more common language with composers.
Are you a musician or film-maker who can feel unsure of yourself in a recording session, baffled by all the technical terms? Do you often work with a sound technician, who is tired of answering annoying questions and explaining the basics to artists who pretend to know more about recording than they actually do? It’s the source of many conflicts and arguments during the creative process. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I developed this course for Animation MA students at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest (MOME). I give them a basic introduction to the world of sound, explaining terms that mostly sound familiar to all of us. When it comes down to it, their knowledge about this field is usually a bit cloudy and uncertain.
After all, what is the phenomenon we call sound? What is pitch, loudness, tone? How can we record and recreate sound waves? What is the difference between analogue and digital processing? These and many more questions are answered during the course from a very practical point of view, in a well-illustrated, but maths-free manner.
As an the extension of the aforementioned course, I introduce students to the world of sound studios and on-location recording. We talk about recording methods and media, and the various equipment required. This ranges from the types of microphones through to cables and connectors to digital interfaces and recording hardware. Students also get an overview of the software, plug-ins and post-production basics. I close the course with a studio recording session completing a simple overdubbing task to put their new found knowledge to practical use. At the end of the course, a student will be able to assemble and operate a basic home studio – and make it work for their creative needs.