Tango for Musicians at Reed College

A Unique Curriculum

Tango for Musicians at Reed College features a rigorous curriculum designed to maximize student learning within and across our many featured activities.

In order to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2021 edition will be online. Tango for Musicians at Reed College offers intensive hands-on training covering all aspects of tango music, including:

Online Edition 2021 Schedule

 You may also view the schedule here.

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The Program

The Tango for Musicians at Reed College program features a rigorous curriculum designed to maximize student learning within and across many activities.

For our 2021 online edition, three different tracks will be offered, focusing on specific aspects of tango music:

  • Musicians Track
  • Arrangers Track
  • Composers Track

Participants will be able to choose the track of their interest at the time of registration. We have planned the schedule of classes such that participants can register for a single track or for a combination of any two of these three tracks if they so desire.

Registration for all tracks includes:

  • Join all afternoon masterclasses, ask questions, and access supporting material as downloadable PDFs.
  • Join "specialist talks" in which masters of the subject will discuss and share their visions. Access to ask questions.
  • Join one of the two orquestas típicas.
  • Join online jam sessions, playing live!
  • Join the welcome talk activity (February 28) and public concert (3/10).

Musicians Track

The Musicians Track curriculum includes:

  • Five instrumental technique classes with two opportunities during the program schedule in which you'll share work you've prerecorded at home. The instructor will provide you with a personal evaluation, sharing suggestions for you to improve.
  • Access to the instrumental teaching material related to each class in PDF form.
  • Access for one month to all online class content in order to learn more deeply.
  • Join one of the two orquestas típicas! With an instructor as your guide, you will receive parts to prepare and record at home, playing on top of a whole orchestra. The instructor will send you personal evaluations so you can improve and learn not only how to play with others but also how to record on top of a backing track. At the closing concert, the combined recordings will be showcased as a virtual Tango For Musicians Orquesta Típica!

Previous experience with tango is not necessary or expected, though technical proficiency on the instrument and the ability to read music are required for this track.

Arrangers Track

The Arrangers Track curriculum includes:

  • Five arranging classes with two opportunities in which you'll share work you've pre-prepared at home.
  • Each arranger can send one arrangement of your own to be reviewed by the instructor. The instructor will provide you with personal feedback once a week (for a total of two evaluations), sharing suggestions for you to improve.
  • Access to the arranging teaching material related to each class in PDF form.
  • Access for one month to all online class content in order to learn more deeply.
  • Join one of the two orquestas típicas! With an instructor as your guide, you will receive parts to prepare and record at home, playing on top of a whole orchestra. The instructor will send you personal evaluations so you can improve and learn not only how to play with others but also how to record on top of a backing track. At the closing concert, the combined recordings will be showcased as a virtual Tango For Musicians Orquesta Típica!
  • Join the group arrangement that will be created and then played by the artistic faculty at the closing concert!

Composers Track

The Composers Track curriculum includes:

  • Five composition classes with two opportunities for which you'll provide composition stracts of yours. 
  • Each composer can send one composition of your own to be reviewed by the instructor. The instructor will provide you with personal feedback once a week (for a total of two evaluations), sharing suggestions for you to improve.
  • Access to the composition teaching material related to each class in PDF form.
  • Access for one month to all online class content in order to learn more deeply.
  • Join one of the two orquestas típicas! With an instructor as your guide, you will receive parts to prepare and record at home, playing on top of a whole orchestra. The instructor will send you personal evaluations so you can improve and learn not only how to play with others but also how to record on top of a backing track. At the closing concert, the combined recordings will be showcased as a virtual Tango For Musicians Orquesta Típica!

 

Instrumental Technique Classes

All the pedagogical materials will be related to each individual class and will be available to download in PDF form at the end of the class. For our 2021 edition, materials will not be sent in advance.

Themes to be covered in instrumental technique classes and elsewhere in our program include:

  • Playing and creating rhythmic and expressive tango melodies
  • Construction and use of different tango time marking models, including marcato in 4, marcato in 2, “síncopa a tierra,” “síncopa anticipada,” “yumba,” and many others
  • Typical resources for playing tango “a la parrilla” (with improvised arrangements)
  • Ornamentation
  • Extended techniques and tango’s famous percussive effects

Afternoon Masterclasses

Afternoon masterclasses will be offered by the artistic faculty on a wide variety of topics. Students will be able to choose freely among these masterclasses, though they are tiered toward beginning, intermediate, and advanced audiences. These masterclasses will allow students at all levels of experience to get the most out of our program. These 90-minute masterclasses will feature workshops focused on:

  • Lyrics and Vocal Interpretation
  • Tango Styles
  • Tango Improvisation
  • Transcription and Analysis
  • Tango Fundamentals
  • Tango Pedagogy
  • The History of Tango

You can download the full masterclass schedule here.

Ensemble Classes

Student ensembles will be organized into two ‘Orquestas Típicas’ (tango big bands). With an instructor as your guide, you will receive parts to prepare and record at home, playing on top of a whole orchestra. You will join five classes to work on the ensemble, listening to your recording edited together with the rest of the musicians in order to learn more about the techniques for playing tango with others. The instructor will send you two personal evaluations so you can improve and learn not only how to play with others but also how to record on top of a backing track. At the closing concert, the combined recordings will be showcased as a virtual Tango For Musicians Orquesta Típica!

Public Concert

Tango for Musicians at Reed College will also feature a prerecorded, live streamed public concert performance featuring the artistic faculty and the Orquestas Típicas on Wednesday, March 10 at 7 p.m. PST. The concert is free to view for all audiences.

Arrangers Track

The Arrangers Track is aimed at beginning, intermediate, and advanced arrangers who would like to experiment within the tango genre. Content will focus on traditional tango and danceable tango arrangements. Basic knowledge of the use of marking models and melodic treatment are necessary. This track is recommended for those who have previously attended Tango for Musicians. 

The artistic faculty will propose different assignments to be written during the week.

Participants in the track will have access to five arrangers-only classes focused on the most important tools for arranging tango music. The week-long curriculum will culminate in showcasing one group-made arrangement played by the artistic faculty at the closing concert.

Each arranger can send one arrangement of their own to be reviewed by the instructor, who will send personal feedback about it once a week, so each participant will receive two evaluations.

Those who attend the Arrangers Track will have access to the full program of activities and concerts that are part of the larger Tango for Musicians at Reed College event.

Composers Track

The Composers Track is aimed at intermediate and advanced composers who would like to experiment within the tango genre with a focus on their own work. Basic knowledge of the use of marking models, melodic treatment, and counterpoint orchestration are necessary. This track is recommended for those who have previously attended Tango for Musicians more than once. 

Please note that to join this track you will need to fill out the application form that will be available here beginning January 18, 2021.

The Composers Track will provide its participants access to five classes only for composers, focused on the most important tools for composing tango music.

Each composer will receive two evaluations from the instructor on one composition of their own. This feedback will happen once a week and will include some requested homework on the composer´s piece.