Creative Strings Workshops Integrate Music, Meditation and Yoga

Gwen Laster. Photo courtesy of Ms. Laster

Third annual season of music, musical games, recreation and fun

Creative Strings Workshop, an annual program developed and directed by Cold Spring violinist Gwen Laster begins again shortly at the Chapel Restoration. This year there will be two one-week sessions, June 25-29 and July 23-27.  The workshop develops the traditionally trained string players’ ability to improvise and compose new music.  Jazz and global music are used in ensemble playing to express individuality of sound and to learn music theory and ear training.  Principles of yoga and meditation are utilized to bring awareness to breathing, to quiet the mind and open the creative channels for spontaneous melodic thought and to create mindfulness of natural body alignment and movement with their instruments. All students perform music they’ve composed, arranged and/or studied as an end session activity.

Creative Strings was the first nontraditional string workshop welcomed by the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Sphinx Preparatory Institute. Faculty includes Laster along with Damon Banks (bassist/composer/teacher); Stacy Labriola (guitarist/singer-songwriter/teacher); Danielle Tavolacci (violinist/violist/junior in music education at Hartt School of Music); Chelsea Hadden (violinist/junior in music education at SUNY Fredonia); Brandon Codrington (cellist/sophomore in music education at SUNY Fredonia) along with special guest artists (teachers vary by session.)

Sample Daily Schedule

9:30-10: yoga, meditation, assigned ensembles
10:15 – 11:15: scales, music theory, repertoire, establishing ensemble combinations, or group improvisation
11:15–noon: music sharing
Noon – 1: lunch, recreation
1-2: music games, individual practice
2-2:45: assigned ensemble, scales, improvisation, song writing, music theory.
2:45-3: snacks
3-3:30: solo, chamber and orchestral performances on YouTube or faculty performance

 On one of the days there will be a walking trip to Stony Point for lunch and recreation. The Monday through Friday sessions last from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the cost per session is $250.  To register, or for more information, contact Gwen Laster at 845-265-2878.

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