Musical Exploration with Rachel Condry this Fall

We’ve all tested out something new during shelter-in-place—from sourdough starters, thousand-piece puzzles, home haircuts, or a new workout routine. But how do we stay musically adventurous during these times? Beginning in Fall Quarter Rachel Condry (Clarinet, Chamber Music) will be offering three exciting new classes for both youth and adults to connect to new styles and modes of music-making and stay engaged with our community.

Been watching too much Netflix or playing countless hours of Animal Crossing? Music plays a big role in movies and games as well! For youth, Rachel will be teaching Music in the Movies and Video Game Music for wind and string players aged 12–18 on Fridays. These classes were developed from working with Chamber Music students this summer, and allow participants to explore familiar music in comprehensive ways that augment the traditional chamber music experience. Students will work on playing arrangements of music they like from popular movies and video games,  but will also expand on their performances to look at these styles with a broader lens. Rachel said “it was inspiring to see that the summer camp students had a lot of fun working on these kinds of musical genres, and were able to apply other skills and interests they had to put the final project all together.”

Students can learn more about the fields of media music production while building fundamental skills—like working on rhythm by playing with a click-track, basic sound recording, and musical collaboration—through historical context and creative assignments. For example, Music in the Movies might include trying your hand at foley artistry and sound effects, or elements of storytelling and how music helps a narrative, in addition to producing a final virtual performance project. These classes are a great way for young musicians to explore their interests and connect music to other styles of media. Interested students should submit a Chamber Music Inquiry Form to schedule a friendly  online audition and talk to the instructor about which class would be best for their level and interest. 

Here’s a rendition of the classic Mario theme arranged and played by Rachel.


For adults, Rachel is offering a brand-new Deep Listening Workshop, perfect for musicians and non-musicians alike from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels. Rachel found that her usual Chamber Music group class students were feeling disheartened by missing their weekly sessions and frustrated by the shortcomings of technology that didn’t allow them to play together online in the same way. She found that Deep Listening was a way for students to connect with others, find a little grounding during uncertain times, and introduce new ways of experiencing music to enhance their own creative practices. 

So, what is Deep Listening?

“Deep Listening was the life’s work of my teacher and mentor—composer, performer, and improviser Pauline Oliveros—emerging from her compositional practice.  It is a valuable and potentially powerful practice for musicians and non-musicians alike.  Deep listening is accessible to anyone who is interested in it, all are welcome.  

Many times when we think of listening, we think of a linear and passive process: sound comes in from outside, and we take it in. But what happens when listening becomes active? Intentional? Dynamic?  Turn it around—how does it feel to be heard?  Deep Listening is a dynamic process.  It moves inward and outward, it includes the “real” and the imagined, the past, and the future, and of course, right now.  Deep Listening can create deep connections.  It can be healing. It can be funny.  It can  be profound and it can be light.  One can dabble in Deep Listening or one can make it their life’s work.  What you do with deep listening is up to you.  What this class will do, is explore the three modalities that make up Deep Listening practice, listening, moving and dreaming, and share our experiences in a listening community.”

Rachel recently completed a year-long certification to teach Deep Listening after having attended several retreats at the Deep Learning Institute and studying the practice for many years. She was inspired to bring Deep Listening to the CMC community. The workshop translates well to online learning and is a great way to achieve the connection that comes from playing music together that so many of us are missing during social distancing, as well as help with performance anxiety, and boost creative expression.

The workshop will focus on three modalities of Deep Listening:

  • Listening. “Sonic meditation” exercises act as algorithms or “software” for people to expand their listening. Text scores which are instructions that allow students to discover new ways of listening.
  • Movement. Listening through the body, listening with the body.  This mindfulness practice aims to returning to innocence: experiencing the sound world with curiosity and wonder.
  • Dreaming. Dreams are a source for our creativity.  Dreams never lie about how we feel.  By listening to our dreams and paying attention to what they are saying we can learn about ourselves.  

Who is this class for? Anyone who comes with an open mind and willingness to communicate can enjoy Deep Listening. Instruments are not required, since many exercises will be done using the voice, so people interested in all genres, as well as from other creative disciplines can participate. The practice will incorporate everyone’s unique individual experience into building a shared community.

“Rachel Condry’s Deep Listening course is excellent!  It is difficult to adequately describe this class in a way that is not pedantic.  As a beginner to deep listening my wife and I got a taste of the power of deep listening.  It is a multifaceted class involving listening and sound exercises as well as dream journaling and movement exercises.  More than anything, Rachel is a great teacher who makes everyone instantly feel comfortable exploring a new world of sounds and sensations that exist all around us!” —Jed Katzel, CMC Chamber Music Student

Deep Listening Workshop meets on Wednesday evenings beginning Fall Quarter. Make an appointment with a registrar to enroll, and try out something new!

If you are new to CMC, ask about the new student discount and get a free instrument rental and no registration fee!