William Harvey Goes Virtual With Music

William Harvey on From the Top's Pilot Episode

Way back in 1998 before we hit the airwaves, From the Top taped their pilot episode at Jordan Hall. One of the featured performers was violinist William Harvey, then 15 years old, from Indiana. We’ve blogged about his accomplishments since then, and today we have another exciting opportunity of his to share with you.

This July, William’s non-profit Cultures in Harmony will partner with the Cameroon Nigeria Youth Movement to create a project entitled “A Peaceful Atmosphere,” which culminates in a simultaneous concert in the US and Cameroon on July 17. The coolest part? This is a virtual project! You can read all the details here, but below is a quick overview.

Groups of teaching artists will work with primary schools in areas around the country, where they will teach kids how to create “Sound Pictures.”  These are visual representations of music the kids will hear – for example, short notes will be shown by small dots, long notes by lines. High notes will be placed above low notes on the page. All in all, the teaching artists will help the kids create sheet music, but it’ll be their own special representation of it.

Once groups of students have created 3-5 minute compositions, the “sheet music” will be scanned and sent to Cameroon and Nigeria – where students have been doing the exact same thing!  The Cameroon and Nigeria music will be sent to the U.S., and on July 17th the teaching artists will perform both versions of music. Video messages between the countries will also be exchanged, and all audio and video will be posted online afterwards.

William Harvey explains the main goal:

Through creating compositions, writing them down, hearing them performed alongside compositions by children from another country, and then hearing the recording of their own pieces performed by musicians from another country, the children will do their part to create that peaceful atmosphere, and the adults who work with them will similarly find that beautiful peace which the universal language of music can so eloquently describe.

This is a pretty amazing project, and From the Top looks forward to seeing the videos and hearing the audio after the concert in July!

William Harvey in Cameroon, 2009. Photo Courtesy of Cultures in Harmony.