by Eunhye Ko
Screaming and roaring sounds, sounds very distant from what normally come from the music building were heard at the Korean traditional music performance room of the Music Building on September 6, from 9:30 in the morning to 8:00 in the evening. The people who were creating these sounds were members of New Zealand's Lippazanas Jazz Band together with Ewha students attending a workshop on improvised music.
Lippazanas Jazz Band is part of a larger project called Vitamin S, an art club where people interested in music and dance gather to develop creative things. The band came to introduce students to the world of improvisation. "The Dance Department was incorporated into the Art College in 2007, so we wanted to open an event where the new art college could work together and it was our first chance practiced," said Professor Choi Yoo-mi (Media Interaction Design).
The workshop titled, 'Face, Love, Mirror' was divided into four sections. The first was a workshop with students from the Music Department; the second, with students from the Dance Department; and the third, with Media Interaction Design majors. The highlight of the workshop was the final performance held on the last workshop which was combined performance with all the students. The performance was quite complex since there were three different performances going on the stage simultaneously. The band playing improvised music; dancers expressing their feelings through the movement of their bodies; and a film, previously made by students, was playing at one section of the wall. "I have danced to live music before; but, it was my first time dancing to improvised music," said Yoon Ji-yang (Korean Dance, 3), a participant.
Improvisation depends on instant inspirations of the performers and on their teamwork. Its intention is to stimulate the imagination and potential artistic ability. Although this genre is not commonly known in Korea, this genre is quite popular in New Zealand and other countries. "People actually pay expensive prices to come see these improvisation performances," said John Bell, who plays the xylophone and tuba. "At first, improvisational art can be unfamiliar and weird, but once you fall into instantly made sounds full of imaginative ideas, you can start to express your inner emotions straight out," said Kelly Choi, a member of the band who plays the clarinet.
"Improvisational art is very open to the public, because anyone can join in and be on stage. All they have to do is express their feelings freely and purely to improvised music," said Yoon. "The most attractive point of improvised music is the flexibility of performance which is a great way to develop new ideas," said Oh Ju-yeon (Modern Dance, 4).
Since the workshop was only held for one day the students had to apply the things they learned fast. Chris O'connor, who plays percussion, said "There were some students who were not part of the workshop but came just to watch, and I was so surprised at the students' enthusiasm to learn."
"I hope a club could be established to study improvised arts, so that students can study freely. I hope all Ewha students have a chance to develop their potential," said Choi.