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Alex Christie: Teaching Through Collaboration and Experimentation

Alex Christie is a composer, electronic musician, improviser, intermedia artist, instrument builder, and teacher. He is a co-curator of the multi-disciplinary arts series SOLOS and organizer of the new electronic music virtual workshop series Synths for Beginners.

I’ve been performing at the Bridge since I moved to Charlottesville in 2016. It’s one of my favorite places to share new work and hear/see the work of other creative artists. The warm and supportive community has led me to collaborate with artists and make music that I never would have created on my own. The Bridge has helped me expand my artistic practice and, more importantly, has led me to reconsider how music education can reach larger communities of people.

I think teaching should be a collaborative act. The spirit of Synths for Beginners is one of creativity and community. This workshop series is a collaborative gathering around music-making and artistic experimentation. Learning how to compose with synthesizers doesn’t require you to compose a certain type of music. Instead, synthesizers can give you an interactive and playful environment in which you can discover your own musical voice and learn about the world around you through sound. When we share our music with each other, we learn from each other’s perspectives and discover modes of expression beyond our own.

Synths for Beginners is designed to be available to as many people as possible, which is why the adult workshops are pay-what-you-can and support the free(!!!)youth multi-week workshop series. We use free software (VCV Rack) that lets you design your own digital electronic music instruments,and the skills you will learn empower you to keep making music long after the workshop ends. I have found that electronic music education can frequently feel over-mystified and more complicated than it needs to be. In Synths for Beginners, we demystify electronic music and helpget you cooking on making music. Join the workshop and come make some noise! No previous experience necessary!

All workshops are conducted over Zoom (a free account is enough to participate) and use the free software VCV Rack.