It is a safe environment for exploration, a real place for making for the sake of making, and a supportive place for failing forward in all the best ways.
I have taught at Haystack a few times during smaller, three-day sessions, and this summer was honored to be asked to come and lead a two-week workshop in which we disassembled two pianos and built experimental musical instruments out of them, much like at Arrowmont in summer of 2016.
This time the students were younger, and much less unfettered by "musical norms" than one might have expected. So they made some really weird, very interesting instruments. An interesting thing about using piano parts is that most students so far have gravitated toward stringed instruments. This makes sense, but this time one student made a couple of shakers, which was a nice departure. Here is what they came up with:
|A bass/guitar zither. The Bass stings are on the right of the instrument, at the top of this photo.|
|This is how you play the bass/guitar zither.|
|A noise maker walking cane.|
|When you put the bottom of the cane on the ground, the bridge strikes the strings and makes noise.|
|This was an attempt at a pedal-operated keyboard. It did not get finished, but it was a very interesting attempt.|
|This students made a whole series of objects. First up: A shaker filled with rocks from the beach.|
|The back of the shaker.|
|This is the companion piece to the shaker. It is a carved ukulele.|
|While waiting for glue to dry|