Rimpar, January 15th 2000
|Dear Friends of KLANG-BEWEGUNG,
the first plan for such a letter comes from the World Congress of Music Therapy in Hamburg, 1996. "It would be nice to stay in touch and to regularly receive new information." However, then there was much work to do, and I thought that I would like to wait until it is finished, but then the next thing had already started and it just did not happen. Now I am very happy that finally it is time to write about new developments, things which have changed and things which have got into motion.
Last year I have decided to enter the age of communication, to buy a computer for the office, to create an address file, to start with e-mail and to open a website. The address file is the basis for this letter and tidied up the many loose pieces of papers. The website is going to become an information centre. We have already started to publish the basic information in German. Further material, reports and photos are to be added piece by piece and shall be translated for our English-speaking friends in the course of this year, if all goes well. This step was taken, because we want to make the material easily accessible, with much space to always add the recent information, and also because we would like to save money as well as time normally used for sending out prospectuses and price lists. We consider this an investment for the future and look forward to your feedback of course now via e-mail, too.
You will certainly have noticed that sometimes I write "I" and sometimes "we". Over the last years some helpers have arrived. Sometimes I work on my own, sometimes I am supported by Karen Anke in the Office, Rainer with the internet, Christian, Paul, Gaby, Reinhard and Jürgen in the workshop, Theo with the planning and some others, too. Thanks a lot to everyone. On the long-term run I would like to find a partner for the workshop, in order to have more space and time for the work with, and development of, the instruments.
After a long break, this year I am going to give further education classes in institutions again. I am very glad about it.
I am also happy to be able to offer you continuing workshops and whole days with the Klangboot (Sound Boat). In the "Werkhaus" in Rimpar there is a nice meditation room with space for small groups of three to five people. The ceiling is very high, creating a long pendulum for the boat and a balanced, calm swinging motion.
During a workshop the Klangboot hangs in the room. Everything is prepared. In the boat there is a comfortable mat. Cushions, blankets and a colourful silk cloth are ready to be used. We have time. We help the person who lies in the boat: a little cushion is placed under the knees. The silk cloth becomes the canopy of the boat. The preparations are finished. All people find their place. The boat becomes still. The person inside, looking well after himself, knows that he can always turn around, yawn, let the tummy make noises, or signal the player to stop playing. All important things have been discussed.
Now the first player sits down next to the boat and allows the person inside, the group and herself the space to arrive. From this attention she contacts the motion of the boat, placing her hands onto the strings, accompanying the movement. From this connection the player begins to play. The first touch and listening.... Is it alright to sit closer to the feet?..... Does the playing want to become stronger?.......
We allow ourselves time to find our way and to arrive more and more. The other group members, too, have found their places. A man, tired from the day, lies next to the heating, wrapped in his blanket. A woman sits at the window, enjoying the atmosphere. She softly starts to tone.... The player has now arrived at a calm, regular playing, which slowly fades away.
In a workshop we have the chance to swap places several times and to share our experiences at the end.
For our German speaking friends I have announced a couple of workshops with the Klangboot. The only dates which might be of interest for you are Saturday, April 18th, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday, May 20th, from 10 a.m. until 18 p.m. in the Werkhaus in Rimpar. I hope that the text gave you at least a taste, an idea of my work.
There are many news about the instruments:
The Klangfreund (Sound Friend), which has always been a little in the shadow of the "big ones" (Klangschaukel (Sound Swing), Klangboot (Sound Boat), Kindermonochord (Children’s Monochord)), has over the years proved to be a very stable friend. It is now at home in all areas: with special needs people, children, old people, musicians, babies... just everywhere. This happened because it is flexible, manageable, stable and has a warm sound. It is by far the most sold instument at KLANG-BEWEGUNG, and it truly deserves it. Since the beginning of 1997 its sound has gained even more atmosphere and attraction, because the hollow inside was filled with pure wool. Many of you will now wonder what wool has to do in an instrument. At the beginning I have also been more than astonished about this impulse. The result, however, is absolutely clear. The resonance quality has become much more physical and has gained much warmth, calm and strength.
The rush basked is a development which started at the World Congress of Music Therapy in Hamburg. There I met Daniel Stern, the infant development specialist, who suggested that I should develop something especially for babies. And then there started a journey very far back. How should such an object look like? Material, shape, sound and the relationship to the "player" gained much importance. A wickerbasket was developed in one of the oldest wickerwork techniques. It looks like one half of a nutshell. The basic structure is made of raw willow, the wickerwork consists of rush which was turned into an endless string. The first rush basket I have heard of is that in the story of Moses who was exposed in a rush basket.
Rush has a smooth feel and a pleasant smell babies can easily remember. The material remains "intact" and is processed in a very simple way, therefore it is very much alive and atmospheric. We can hear and feel this when, for example, we lay a Klangfreund across and play it. The overtones are always unusually balanced. Even when the playing is strong, there are no hard impulses, and with the hands on the basket we can feel the quality of the vibration. For the child it is a powerful protected space. There is also the possibility to place the basket into a hammock an additional shelter as well as an option for movement.
All other instruments have a sound source. This is possible for the rush basket, too. The best combination is that with a Klangfreund or a Tanpura. The instruments are placed, or hooked, at the lower end of the basket, with the other end of the instrument resting on our shoulder. This creates a simple swinging connection during the playing.
The rush basket, more than the other instruments, is unique in its form and material. It "sounds" without a string being plucked. How else could it be possible that it sounds when covered with a Klangfreund or an other instrument, which is played? Each body sounds without a tone, too. This knowledge, however, has been a little lost in our time. But a remnant of it has remained. Somehow we feel better in an old half-timbered house with mud walls than in a concrete building. If you placed an instrument against the respective walls of the buildings and played it, you were able to hear their intrinsic vibrations.
In our work with children it turned out that almost all children have the wish to lie in the rush basket. This is easily possible up to an age of about six years. Alas, adults, too, seem to have such ambitions. A teacher with a rather small build has already tried it, she could simply not be stopped. And I, too, want to experience it. Therefore the first rush basket for adults is in the making and shall be finished around April/May of this year.
The price for a rush basket for babies is DM 800.- incl. 16 % VAT.
The Klangschaukel (Sound Swing) has received two mayor improvements
The side part of the Klangschaukel looks like this:
The bottom part is flatter, the rocking motion has therefore become calmer and slower.
The flatter surface is more comfortable for the person inside.
The lid of the old model was a soundboard with strings. The new model offers different possibilities. There is a frame with strings, a board and two covers for the edges.
The first possibility is to cover the instrument, similar to the old model, first with the board and then with the stringed frame (the advantage being that the two parts are much lighter than the old one-piece board). Instead of the frame you can also use an other sound source, for example a water drum, a balaphone or....
The second possibility is to use only the frame with the two covers for the edges. Now the player and the person inside can look at each other. The person inside can see the sky and is able to play the strings, too.
When used as a swing, the frame is tied to the ropes and afterwards the board is placed on top. Here, too, the lighter weight is an advantage. Of course we can also hang the frame into a tree and let it swing and sound, or we can....
The Lachrohr (Laughing Tube) has changed even more:
There is no more pipe with a closed bottom end and a lid, but different tube segments, open on both sides, as well as lids and a plexi glass part with slides. All parts can be combined. Therefore one can adjust to different situations. The Lachrohr will have its strength in the work with children with development and/or learning difficulties. A the moment there exist three prototypes. As soon as the series is finished we will publish the news on the website. The next letter, too, will contain a thorough report. It stays exciting.
And now we have almost reached the end of the letter. Two important announcements have yet to be made. Please understand that I shall not be available in the period from November 20th, 2000, until February 20th, 2001. And please fill in and return the enclosed form in any case if you want to continue to receive our information.
On behalf of KLANG-BEWEGUNG I say good-bye to you and wish you much joy and peace.
|Your "Sound Friend"