Not to be a Brick in the Wall

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Karen Khachatryan]

“Musical Laboratory” Club

John Cage’s teacher Schoenberg once told him that in order to write music one should have a feeling of harmony. In answer to that Cage said that he certainly had no feeling of harmony, and Schoenberg thought that that would make it impossible for John to write music. He said, “You’ll come to a wall you will not be able to get through’’, and Cage answered, “I will beat my head against that.’’

Breaking down walls lies in the basis of modern music directions. You know that walls reflect sound, and the absence of walls allows sound waves to fluctuate in the whole area until its final fading. At the end of the 19th century an Afro-American drummer in a pub in New Orleans deviated from rhythm and jazz, and in the result of that jazz was created. It was a wall which was to be broken down and it was broken down. That also gave a chance to remove the geographical borders of music. Jazz is the result of collision of Afro-American and European cultures. At the end of the 1960s Tony Iommy,  the guitarist of the group “Black Sabbath”, accidentally lost his two fingertips at work. He had to wear iron thimbles to continue his favourite occupation. That caused the birth of heavy metal. That was also a wall to be broken down.

Our “Musical Laboratory” Club was created in 2013 in an environment where walls are missing: it is a free platform in the “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educomplex. Creating freely is the biggest moving force in the club. The learners of the club basically have musical education or are keen on music. They are high school learners, and a great love towards music unites them so much that even leaving school or going to university doesn’t prevent them from performing in the club together.                   

          In my opinion the club gives the learners an opportunity of self-expression and creation. They are freely looking for their creative style and language. As an organizer I have minimum interference with their activities. We only speak about music and listen to music together. Somehow these talks become orienting. One day we came across the group “Bambir” while listening to modern quality Armenian music. The club members were inspired by that group and they decided to organize their own group. Today their group “Tiezerk” (Space) is one year old. They are engaged in musical arrangements and processing of Armenian folk songs. They have been able to gain popularity for quite a short period of time. By the way, by a remarkable coincidence, the group “Tiezerk” is going on a concert tour with the “Bambir”: On April 2 the festival of Armenian Innovative Technologies is supposed to take place in Los Angeles, where the “Tiezerk” will be one of the three musical groups. See what a wall has been pulled down!

        There is a free competition in the “Musical Laboratory”. The four learners playing the guitar are struggling to become the first guitarist of the rock group. I have listened to music a lot but that doesn’t prevent me from getting surprised at our learners’ mature technique. When Arbi Avetisyan (Grade 11) put the drum sticks aside and took up the guitar and began singing his own songs, it was also an act of pulling down a wall.

The fact that a hard rock or heavy metal group is created in an educational institution is already breaking through the wall, because that music is commonly created in the backyards. This inspire both the old and the young. Their concert on the roof became a real festivity for the “Rocker” learners this spring. In spite of their inner competition the club members are united thanks to their love towards music activities and opportunity of self-expression. As there are several groups in the club we organize rehearsals in different places. The groups struggle to get the recording studio for their rehearsals. Once when the rock group had occupied the recording studio, another group demanded that their rehearsal should be done there. When I didn’t their demand, they were offended and left the rehearsal room. All my efforts to get them back were in vain, and I decided to circumvent: I switched their favourite music on to amplifiers, and they came back in a few seconds. But during the concerts and performances they are all together helping and encouraging each other.             

The club manifest               

Noise is music

Not having vocal abilities doesn’t mean to be unable to sing

Not being able to play a musical instrument doesn’t mean to be unable to be a musician  

Silence is music

All sorts of sound waves are music

The girl filing her nails by the window, is my favorite composer.

 

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