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Improvising Our Way Through the Pandemic

10 weeks
All levels
1 lesson
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What is the new definition of “think globally, act locally” during the pandemic?

Bill Shontz is a former music professor at The University of Illinois, Ohio State University, Muskingum College and Bluffton College and currently on the faculty of the Brattleboro Music Center and Brattleboro Union High School. He is trained in classical clarinet and received a Master’s Degree in flute, clarinet, saxophone and recorder from The Ohio State University. He was Solo Clarinet with the Ohio State Orchestra and Concert Band and with the University of Illinois Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. He has also performed with big bands and jazz ensembles. As one critic lauded, “He is a Master of Woodwinds (literally).”

For twenty years Bill was one half of the Nationally acclaimed duo, RosenShontz and has entertained millions of children and their parents throughout the world with his imaginative and witty style of music and humor. Living Whole Online is fortunate to include all of the albums in our program.

I think there is another whole evolution of the RosenShontz records. When we first started, I did it with the idea that my child…I listened to the music that was out there at the time and it was pretty sad. I kept saying to myself, “I can do better than that!” We put in a lot of love and care into making those albums timeless.
                                                                                    Bill Shontz

Bill has ten award-winning albums (that have sold over 700,000 copies) and three videos, one of which was nominated for an Emmy. His first solo album, “Animal Tales”, was acclaimed by numerous magazines and received numerous awards, as was his recording, “Teddy Bear’s Greatest Hits”

“The Day I Read A Book”, is designed to encourage children and families in their love of books and reading, and has won the 1999 Parent’s Choice Silver Award.

Bill has been a spokesperson for the environmental groups EARTHWATCH and Green Up Vermont and was a featured performer at the Electrification US Symposium, and PSEG’s Global Green Expo.

He has written a book on Improvisation and conducts workshops to teach “paper trained” musicians that anyone can learn to improvise and discover the inner creativity that lives within their soul.

Improvisation is about freeing yourself from the written page.
                                                                                    Bill Shontz

Kathryn met Bill in 1977 and her children grew up on the RosenShontz music and concerts. She and Bill reconnected for this podcast, and here are some of the themes that will engage you as you listen to their conversation:

  • How does improvisation help us with the things we need to learn during the pandemic?
  • What is Bill’s book that includes the exercise “Anything Goes”? How does it teach classical musicians how to leave the written page through a series of games?
  • What song and activities did Bill do for Earthwatch?
  • What is diaphragmatic breathing and how does Bill help people learn it?
  • What does Bill love about playing for seniors?
  • What happened during the premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring?

In me, in my soul, I want the music to take me somewhere, somewhere out there, then take me back down, then bring me back up…it’s a journey…
Bill Shontz

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