Posts tagged music

how are the music programs/majors at bennington? — Asked by Anonymous

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.

Alan ‘15

Hey so I'm a lapsed cellist, I played for six years and this past year had some personal issues and didn't continue with it. So I'm afraid to bring it with me to college because I know I won't be up to par to play with any orchestra, but at the same time I would like to ease back into it. Should I bring it or leave it? — Asked by Anonymous

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.


Some music for an August afternoon…

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.

I want to learn and play cello but I've no prior experience in it. I don't know staff notation as well, but I do play guitar well. Do you think I can dabble in it provided that I'm determined into it? :) — Asked by Anonymous

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.



kagan ‘03

Picture from the band, Phox (fresh from the Newport Folk Festival),  who played at the Vermont Arts Exchange in North Bennington on Saturday night. Upstate Rubdown opened for them and the Phantom Food Truck opened for everything. It was delicious and the music was great. Bonus was seeing three faculty members there (all super cool ones, of course)
Another great night in North Bennington!

Picture from the band, Phox (fresh from the Newport Folk Festival),  who played at the Vermont Arts Exchange in North Bennington on Saturday night. Upstate Rubdown opened for them and the Phantom Food Truck opened for everything. It was delicious and the music was great. Bonus was seeing three faculty members there (all super cool ones, of course)

Another great night in North Bennington!


What's the likelihood of that Instrument Building class being offered more than once? I would love to take that class but it looks like a lot of your cool random classes are one time deals. Is that accurate? — Asked by Anonymous

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. 


Whenever I hear the lumineers, it makes me think of bennington. Is this accurate? — Asked by Anonymous

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:

So yeah,
Alan ‘15

So, are there any large concert venues close to Bennington? — Asked by rhuhuz

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 ;)) 

~Doug ‘16~


So this past weekend Bennington held it’s annual day-long outdoor festival, Sunfest on our commons lawn and students spent the day circling the campus having fun with friends and listening to good tunes while eating cotton candy. In the evening we also had some bands play in our student center performance space. I hadn’t planned on going as I was very tired from running around all day, but my friend came in late from a tech rehearsal and asked me if I felt like going out to dance with her for a bit at the show. When we got there this band, Lip Talk, was playing and woah can I say that it was by far the best show I’ve been to in years. They had amazing stage presence and a really stellar array of songs (including the one posted here, which they played as their finale.) Afterwards I went to get one of their free stickers but they had already run out (because, like I said, they were so good!!!) but the singer was packing up the merch stuff and was kind enough to give me the very last sticker she had on her, right out of her wallet. I can honestly say I have never felt more star struck or fluttery than I did walking away from this awesome show. Anyway, I recommend listening to this song in the shower, as it goes really nicely with an undertone of rushing water. 

Does Bennington offer many beginning vocal classes? I'm a classical musician who cannot sing at all but would love to learn how — Asked by Anonymous

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!

Music at Bennington

Genelle ‘15

Hi, I am a junior in High School and I looked at Bennington this past December. I really liked it and I was curious about the composition/ jazz program at Bennington. I'd really love to continue doing music, but I don't know if I'd only do music. I have many other interests, but if I really find music to be my "thing," is Bennington a good place for musical exploration? I know it's a difficult question, but pretty much, I'm curious about the music program and how it works! Thanks! — Asked by Anonymous

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


If you’ve been through the application process this year we’ve asked a lot about your interests and the work that you make. So, I figured we should return the favor.

Here at Bennington it’s Long Weekend which means that us students are taking a much deserved break for a few days. Please take this as an invitation to follow in our footsteps. Put down that financial aid document you’ve been thumbing through and relax to the sweet sounds of Hart - a musical project created by two current Bennington sophomores.

(Oh and nodding to the last post I should mention that both members of Hart are indeed bois). 

-Eliana ‘15

Bathroom Review: Jennings (2nd Floor Restroom)

Quality bathroom. Located in Bennington’s music building, Jennings, this bathroom combines students practicing music with other students playing music since it is near the practice rooms. This amounts to a musical mash which assists no one. A little known fact about this bathroom is that its mirror opens up, allowing space for all sorts of fun bathroom things. I know that this is a little know fact because there is nothing in it and it took me ten minutes to pry it open, since it has no handle of any sort. All that the lowly students of Bennington left it was… I don’t honestly know. What is that? Art of some sort? A picture? Letters? They don’t look like any letters i’ve ever seen. The toilet works. Unfortunately, there is no safety in this bathroom. There is no way to let a common bathroom user know that the building that he/she is using the bathroom is on fire! How can we even know if we are on fire?! Everything was great quality. 

Safety: 0 out of 10
Comfort: 8 out of 10
Design: 8 out of 10 
Fire: Are you on it?

Music is important.

-Alex BG

CONGRATULATIONS!!! We can’t wait to see you in the Fall :)

Alana = Bennington!
Stop sitting on that bench and come join the fun!

Behind the scenes, behind the sleeves of a goofy video from Thursday morning shift! Enjoy!

-Alana and Arden

Can you show pictures of your music building? I went to visit Bennington this summer, and that was the one thing that I didn't see that I'm super interested in! — Asked by Anonymous

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.

Happy Trails,