The Exp Summer Daily

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The Experimentory Blog

Our year-round blog describes our program, values, and plans for next year.

The Exp Summer Daily

Our summer news consists of daily updates while we're in session -- giving a window into past years.

Odes to Biscuits and Buttonwoods

Jul 19, 2019 2:43:35 PM

In room B09 of the Library, guitars are playing, iPad pianos tinkling, and dogs and trees alike being extolled through sound. The cacophony emanates from Mr. Correa’s class, “Your First Drop: Lyric Writing and Video Production,” where twelve students have been hard at work to produce an original song and music video in just two weeks.

The first brainstorming exercise Mr. Correa assigned was for students to wander around the library and take inspiration from book titles. Anthony B. and Austin Z. decided to combine a book title they saw with their love for Doubleday dorm head Ms. Hutchinson’s dog Biscuit. Their song “Dancing with Biscuit” declaims their love for him and enumerates his many admirable qualities.

Today, Mr. Correa helped the pair refine their melody. Playing a chord progression on a guitar, he had them sing different tunes until one stuck. Building a melody off of a chord progression and writing lyrics that fit into a traditional four-line, verse-chorus-bridge format has been an emphasis of the class. “I’m trying to show them that music has structure,” Mr. Correa explained.

IMG_9618 IMG_9622

Austin appraises the latest audio track for
“Dancing with Biscuit”

Mr. Correa and Ricardo consider a
chord progression

Adjacent to the canine troubadours, Shivani P. and Linda Y. were at work further in the songwriting process. Having just laid down their vocal tracks, they were beginning to brainstorm ideas for their music video.

Linda and Shivani are collaborating on a folk/blues ballad called “Blue Buttonwood.” Buttonwood is a colloquial term for a sycamore, and Shivani explained that the song was inspired by a specific sycamore tree in Sunderland, MA whose trunk has the diameter of an SUV.  The song conveys a message of environmental preservation: “It’s sort of about ‘save the trees,’ but it doesn’t exactly say that. It’s about a tree that’s losing its roots. Trees can kind of communicate through their roots.” In the song’s bridge, the lyrics read, “One tree turns into a thousand matches. But one match turns a thousand trees into a heap of ash.”

IMG_9638 IMG_9648

Mr. Correa listens to “Blue Buttonwood”
on GarageBand

Shivani and Linda get feedback on their
project progress.

The songwriting pair was inspired by the name “blue” to attempt a bluesy feel. The backing track features a minor key acoustic guitar with a bass and light conga drums for percussion. When the songwriting duo went into the studio to review their work with Mr. Correa, they blushed as they listened to their own voices playing back through the speakers. He assured them that their work so far was good and that they were ready for the next steps. As the class ended, they were contemplating how to get footage of a tree stump being ground near the dining hall to use in their video.

We are all looking forward to seeing their final products, which will be screened at the showcase on Saturday!

Ben Grimm

The Exp Summer Daily provides news and updates while we are in session in July and August. The rest of the year, check out the Experimentory Blog for posts feature our students, teachers, classes, values, goals, and plans for the coming year.