One thing I really value about music at Bennington is hearing your work performed. My first term I took a composition class where I wrote chorales and fugue; at the end of the term my teacher brought in students to perform these pieces. And he recorded them. My brother studied music composition at a massive institution and almost never heard his work performed, with the exception of his senior recital and a few performances spattered about.
Like most programs at Bennington, you’ll see music from all angles. Composition, performance, history and theory. Recording too. But also from all different genres: rock and roll to classical, Eastern to electronic. And you get to carve your way through the chaos however you please.
Leave it. Unless you are in a class that has you playing you probably will be too busy with everything else to play.
I played bassoon in high school and took a class my freshman year. I toted my bassoon around until junior year when I realized I hadn’t played it since my class and I finally took it home.
I will always advocate for having less things at school. If you need it after FWT or your junior year, bring it then. But, for now, leave it.
Hey! Some students, Phil and Mackenzie in this case, make music sometimes. This one’s been featured on Stereogum. It’s described as “tonally bizarre” “off-kilter” and I needed to listen to it more than a few times to get a real feel for it. It’s fascinating stuff! Have a listen if you want.
oh my friend look at this!!
Most instruments have a beginning class for anyone to dip their feet into and learn the fundamentals. Some of them, like banjo, guitar, and mandolin require students to have their own instrument (a LOT of people here have guitars and to a lesser extent banjos or mandolins that you could borrow,) while other instruments can be borrowed from the school.
I got back into piano my freshman year and (re)learned sight reading just because it was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, but I was in class with people who had never played piano before.
It totally depends on the teacher, the class, and the interest level on campus.
I am assuming you are talking about the Mountain Dulcimer class that John Kirk is offering next fall. I know that, in that in this particular case, that John has offered that class, or a version of that class, before.
The super cool thing about the Plan Process is that teachers read your Plan and are on Plan Committees so they know exactly what we are studying so they can design their courses around us. (Because, it’s really all about us…) For example, Robert Ransick and Jon Isherwood noticed that there were a lot of students interested in digital fabrication so they co-taught a class called Object Oriented.
If there isn’t a class but you are interested in something you can talk to a teacher about doing a tutorial. Tutorials are basically independent studies where you and the teacher set the curriculum and you do lots of work. I am part of the Radio Project which is a tutorial in which we make audio stories. Check them out here. (shameless self-promotion) The Radio Project started because of the interest and passion of some young Bennington students and now has grown in to 10 person strong tutorial.
No. Bennington is not one band. Bennington is like a pandora station where you mixed artists like Louis Armstrong, Joni Mitchell, Pitbull with the genres Math Rock/Punk, Honky Tonk and the song “Sunglasses at Night.” I think the Lumineers would come on that station occasionally, but we are so so so so so so so much more like these examples:
We are like this mashup of Lady Gaga and the Carpenters:
We are like this mashup of Brittney Spears and Adele:
We are Macy Gray covering Radiohead:
Well, you’d probably have a hard time finding a large concert venue here in Bennington, VT, but you could take a 40 min drive to MASS MoCA and see someone like Beck this summer or take another 40 min drive to Albany and check out some venues there as well.
If you have a car it works out pretty well! I’d say it’s pretty wise of you to make friends with cars…at least one… (only kind of joking ;))
One vocal class offered at Bennington almost every term is Sacred Harp. This is a great intro vocal class where you can begin to test out the waters. This fall there is also a Beginning Voice class in which you can “Take your voice out of the shower and into the world.” As you feel more comfortable with your voice and want to advance, Bennington also offers Intermediate and Advanced Voice courses.
Check out the Music section of the Bennington Curriculum!
Hello kindred spirit,
I understand. I get it. I was THERE. Actually though, I entered my time here with a huge drive to study exactly those things - jazz and composition. But I also had my interest in sculpture to fulfill. And there we have the intimidating question facing those who approach Bennington: how do I take all my “things” to make an education?
Well, you’ve already given the answer! Exploration. In my freshman year I took a variety of classes in music, visual art, and all the things in between. In the music department, I’ve moved through classes in improvisation, composition, history, and personal lessons, as well as collaborations with dance and theater. Music faculty (and all faculty, in fact) encourage study across the disciplines and within. Students are challenged to engage broadly, from classical theory to the avant garde and beyond into new questions. Take a peek at our current music curriculum and see for yourself!
^ Jennings earlier today ^
xo Sam ‘16
On a lovely fall day last term, Jeremy, Tommy and I went up to Jennings to take some pics. Let us know if there’s a specific space that you want to see if these don’t suffice.