A few years back, I happened to find Maria's @improvaday project and was thrilled to see what she was doing - I've followed it ever since! If you don't follow her on Instagram - @mariafinkperc - you are seriously missing out. She creates miniature compositions out of ordinary objects. Although Maria uses conventional percussion instruments too, the coolest ones are those that serve as a simple reminder that music is always around us. We just may not be taking advantage of those musical opportunities like her! Here are a few of my favorites...
Maria was also recently asked to do a live version of @improvaday. A component of the improvised performance is a reel of clips from @improvaday that are quantized. Check it out!
When I went up to meet Maria at her Boston studio, I think we were both unsure about how this session would take shape because we both do a lot of improvising. That means so many choices. Improvisation can be individually active, interactive, or reactive. When playing with other people that are comfortable creating spontaneous music, it can encompass all of that which ultimately means that the possibilities are endless. This is the best part about collaborating because it's interesting to hear everyone's improv vocabulary, instrument choices and to learn to play with others in a short amount of time. It's also nice to talk about upcoming projects and how improvisation plays a role in their creative, performing and teaching endeavors.
Maria's thoughts on how she uses improvisation in her daily routine
"Improvisation finds it's way into my daily from many angles. The @improvaday project is always on my mind - even outside of the practice room. When I'm in a new environment, or working with collaborators, I often try to find something in the room that will make sound. These micro improvisations help me get to know the room/instruments, and create relationships with others. They are fun, light, and establish a playfulness in the space. To me, the idea of not taking oneself too seriously is important! When composing, or preparing for a performance, I also use improvisation as a creative stimulus and tool. I think that the foundation of improvisation in my work has helped me develop my voice as an artist, finding my own musical vocabulary, and allowed me to more clearly articulate my contributions when collaborating on new projects."
In Boston, my setup consisted of a Zildjian Spiral Trash Cymbal, two bourbon bottles (unfortunately empty), a medium tom-tom, a few metal bowls and a stock pot, which was salvaged from a local food processing plant. Maria's included a sampling pad, four resonant metal pipes, two large stock pots and a low A marimba.
The first two performances are free improvisations and the third is a work-up of my latest improvisation etude. Thanks again Maria for hanging with me. You rock!
My newest pitched improvisation etude
If you like this etude try one of the others! One pitched and one non-pitched etude is available in the sheet music shop for free. Once they're all done, I will be compiling them in a book that will be available for purchase from the shop as well. I currently have 5 of each complete.
More about Maria:
Anthony Di Bartolo is a New Jersey-based percussionist, composer, and educator.