Education & Workshops
"J.A. Deane brilliantly conducting a chamber group filled with brass players
at Roulette during the Festival of New Trumpet (FONT)"
Howard Mandel : Jazz Beyond Jazz, Arts Journal
Collaborative Composition (An Introduction to Conduction®)
Ensemble Music Workshops with J.A.Deane, Conductor
To develop and enhance musical and social skills, while providing participants opportunities for individual self-expression and team work.
Options & Durations
1 - 3 hour Lecture Demonstration Workshop
2 - 3 to 5 day Intensive (a 3 hour session each day)
3 - 10 week course (a 2 hour session weekly or bi-weekly)
Workshops can be tailored for Middle School, High School or University Students
Mixed groups of any acoustic or electric instrument or voice combination as well as existing ensembles (concert bands, big bands, orchestras, choirs, poets)
What is Conduction?
Conduction is a key that can open the door of musical potential.
Conduction® is based on a lexicon of instructions which the conductor conveys through signs and gestures , and to which instrumentalists respond with musical content.
In Conduction, musicians are encouraged to draw on their personality, history and skill and take part in a decision-making process which is collective in nature, and in which composition and performance become one.
Why Conduction for younger students?
Over the past thirty years, Conduction has been used internationally with the most diverse musical communities - in age, ability, background and location -, showing its potential for music enhancement and music pedagogy. With younger students, Conduction can open new paths for a deeper appreciation of the musical experience and of the musical self, while encouraging team play.
Experiencing Conduction can
+ enhance musical ability (composition and performance)
+ empower the individual to find their own voice
+ reveal the power of the ensemble through collaboration
+ provide encounters with wonder through the act of creation
1- 3 hour Lecture Demonstration Workshop : Covers the history and concepts of Conduction and takes the ensemble through the basics of the Lexicon and the creation of ensemble pieces in real time.
2- 3 to 5 day Intensive (a 3 hour sessions each day) : Continues on where the Lecture Demonstration leaves off and takes the ensemble deeper into each of the signs and gestures as more sophisticated combinations and structure possibilities are explored.
3- 10 week course ( a 2 hour session weekly or bi-weekly) : This is where the true depth of the Conduction Lexicon is revealed, as the ensemble becomes more comfortable with the Lexicon, they discover a deeper comprehension of the options (and responsibility) they have in providing the musical content.
Workshops can be tailored for Middle School, High School or University Students. Conduction can be very effective at elevating ensemble skills with beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels of musicianship.
Room Size & Equipment (varies with the instrumentation and size of the ensemble)
The room where the workshop takes place must be of a size that can comfortably hold the full ensemble, preferably a theater or hall with good acoustics. Any large instruments (piano's, harps, vibes, drums etc.), or technical needs (amplifiers, AC strips, extension chords) should be provided.
Some background on Conduction:
Between 1985 and 2012, Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris created and produced over 200 Conductions worldwide, refining with each performance this unique musical concept. His numerous recordings and projects express a range of accomplishment that distinguishes him, then as now.
Butch Morris' Conductions have embraced improvisatory and interpretive musical cultures - from Jazz ensembles, symphonic orchestras, and electro-acoustic, choral and Pop to traditional musicians and instrumentation from North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle-East -.Through it, Morris has engaged an astonishing number and variety of musicians from different cultures and traditions. He defines it this way:
“Conduction®: The practice of conveying and interpreting a lexicon of directives to modify or construct sonic arrangement or composition; a structure-content exchange between composer /conductor /instrumentalist that provides immediate possibilities to alter or initiate harmony, melody, rhythm, tempo, progression, articulation, phrasing or form by manipulating pitch, dynamics (volume/intensity/density), timbre, duration, silence, and organization in real-time”.
Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris is now recognized as the principal theorist and practitioner in the evolution of the Art of Conduction® -- a significant innovation in the confluence of jazz, new music, improvisation and contemporary classical music. Mr. Morris's work redefines the roles of composer, conductor, arranger and performer, and bridges the gap between composer, interpreter and improviser. His is a world of synthesis whose music and performance contributions will help to sustain the health, longevity, and creativity of music, culture, and the arts in this, our 21st century.
The Art of Conduction. Conduction® Workbook:
Butch Morris passed in January of 2013, before the completion of his book on the Art of Conduction. In the weeks prior to his passing, he entrusted the editing and completion of the book to Daniela Veronesi, J.A. Deane and Allan Graubard. Deane was specifically tasked to finish the work on the Lexicon of Signs and Gestures (the heart of the book) together with Daniela Veronesi. Deane's history with Butch and Conduction began in 1985 (Conduction #3), when Deane joined the ensemble as a Live-Sampler. They become close friends and continued working together until Mr. Morris passed. In 1997 after collaborating with Morris for 12 years, Deane began conducting his own ensemble (Out of Context) and by 2000 he was also giving workshops. He has committed himself to continuing the legacy of Conduction with his own ensembles and through workshops for conductors, musicians, actors and spoken word artists.
J.A. Deane Bio:
Dino J.A. Deane
University of California, Berkeley*
University of California, San Diego
University of Agder, Kristiansand Norway
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
University of Art and Design, Santa Fe
Metro State University, Denver
The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia
The Academy, Albuquerque
The Stone (New Music Observatory), NYC
High Mayhem Emerging Arts, Santa Fe
Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque
Walking the Tightrope: A Week of “Conduction” with J.A. Deane (UC Berkeley)*
A few minutes prior to the first of a weeklong series of workshops on the concept of “Conduction”, J.A. Deane went to each musician in the ensemble and showed them an impossible picture: an acrobat, walking a tightrope over a vast canyon at night. After everyone had a chance to individually examine the picture, he stated “this is where we are going”. Metaphors, especially musical ones, rarely come more accurate than that.
The series of workshops, which began on December 2nd with an introductory session in Hertz Hall, and concluded on December 6th with an evening concert in the same venue, was facilitated by Professor Myra Melford, and the ensemble included undergraduate and graduate students from her classes, as well as professional musicians. The workshops explored a method of directing improvising musicians called “Conduction”. The practice of “Conduction”, created and developed by Lawrence “Butch” Morris, involves the use of physical gestures and signs as a means of conducting a group of musicians, without the use of any notated music or predetermined material: the music is created entirely in the moment. Rehearsals consisted of J.A. Deane thoroughly and methodically familiarizing the ensemble with the vocabulary of gestures and signs, as well as reminding the ensemble of the three key rules of Conduction: 1. Always watch me (the conductor), 2. Listen to everything, and 3. Stay out of your own head. While the first two rules are important, the last one proved the most difficult and consistently challenging: Deane clarified this rule by emphasizing that this music is about being in the moment, and that it requires musicians to avoid constant analysis, and instead follow their instincts. Deane helped the ensemble reach this mindset by assuring us that our first choice was always the appropriate one, and that the only real mistake one can make in an ensemble participating in Conduction is to be tentative.
The signs and gestures of Conduction convey clear and concise musical instructions: making sustained and short sounds, repeating musical fragments, designating tempos, as well as gestures for extended techniques, and duets within the ensemble. These gestures allow for structurally complex and sophisticated music to be composed in real time, often creating a piece that would be nearly impossible for modern musical notation to record. Conduction, though, is less about the potential for complexity, and more about music as a process of discovery. Each time the ensemble played, none of us knew what piece we were about to play, and what direction it was going to take- neither did J.A. Deane. The constant negation between the conductor, who provides the context and structure, and the musicians, who provide the content, means that each note or sound made could significantly alter the direction of the music. This is what makes Conduction, and improvised music as a whole, exciting and vital: it reminds us that music thrives and moves forward as a result of experimentation and discovery. Conduction is about music as exploration, rather than recitation. Though this process is at first intimidating, taking that first step into the unknown and walking the musical tightrope proves creatively freeing, and changes one’s perception of how music can be created.
Submitted by Landon Bain, student in Myra Melford’s Jazz and Improvised Music program & participant in the Conduction workshops / concert in 2013