This slender large-print folio is Julie Lieberman’s sixth music instruction manual. Aimed at conductors, directors and educators, it suggests some modifications on the traditional teacher/student relationship, including the physical arrangement of the classroom and rehearsal space, and offers strategies, techniques and games designed to encourage students to develop the ability to improvise.
Lieberman’s opening chapter is titled “Orchestra On Its Ear.” She discusses bands and orchestras of the future, ways to create new traditions, the use of new technology and methods of developing listening skills. She suggests new ways of organizing the rehearsal process, encourages students to think about more than the printed notes and discusses the benefits of trying different seating plans. She proposes ways to develop the compositional skills of students, allowing them to create music of their own. She closes the chapter with exercises designed to develop new methods of learning and communicating music.
In the second chapter, “Approaches to Improvisation,” she offers some interesting ways to encourage students to discover the pleasures of improvising. In the third, “Games and Techniques,” she designs some adventures in learning melodic and rhythmic improvisation.
At the back of the book are handouts to be copied and distributed to students and parents, with information on “playing healthy,” and advice on getting the most out of practice sessions. A directory gives the names and addresses of organizations that provide support to music educators. Throughout the book are many attractive photographs and drawings, some done by third grade students. In boxes, sprinkled through Lieberman’s text, there are additional comments and encouragements from other musicians and educators, and there is a foreword from Justin DiCioccio, chair of the Jazz Department at Manhattan School of Music.