PRISM Quartet Institute
PRISM Quartet Institute (PQI) is an innovative program (online-only during the pandemic) through which the PRISM Quartet partners with cultural and educational organizations worldwide to share knowledge the group has accumulated in our 36 years together—all for the benefit of aspiring artists. PQI is offering seminars, interactive workshops, and classes under five separate tracks: Teaching and Pedagogy; Business and Entrepreneurship; Recording and Technology; Composition; and Mentorship.
With lead support from The Presser Foundation, PRISM Quartet created PQI, in part, as a response to the pandemic, which has separated Quartet members from one another and from our audiences. But this new initiative is also deeply connected to the ensemble’s educational mission: to foster a new generation of artists, and through their work, the public’s appreciation of contemporary music.
Although the Quartet will not concertize again until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely distributed, PQI launches online in January 2021. For information about hosting PQI, reach out to Executive Director Matthew Levy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teaching and Pedagogy
PRISM Quartet member provide personalized instruction in a public forum for saxophone soloists. Open to all music students.
Exploration and critique of chamber music performances for all instrumentalists within the music department/school. Open to any chamber ensembles, including all wind groups (brass quintets, woodwind quintets, wind trios, piano with winds, and saxophone quartets).
Private Saxophone Lessons
Each member of PRISM is available for one-on-one instruction with all levels of saxophone students.
Strategies for Successful Chamber Music Experiences
PRISM members provide pedagogical handouts and performance demonstrations intended to teach more effective methods for rehearsing and performing. Open to all instrumentalists.
I Got Rhythm: Interpreting New Music
This seminar addresses how to successfully interpret temporal aspects of 20th and 21st century music. Learn how to count, navigate the math, and mark your music in helpful ways when playing compositions that incorporate mixed meter, metric modulations, and polyrhythms. Musical examples are drawn from impressionism, modernism, post-minimalism, spectralism, pop and hip hop.
Open Rehearsals (post-pandemic only)
Opportunities for students to observe PRISM in action!
Outreach (post-pandemic only)
Outreach activity (Elementary through HS), includes performances for school assemblies, band programs, or individual classes, as well as lecture-demonstrations that include discussions of composers/historical periods, an introduction to basic instrument construction and sound production, and a Q & A session.
Performance Collaborations (post-pandemic only)
PRISM is available for a multitude of musical partnerships within the institution, highlighting repertoire for saxophone quartet with orchestra, concert band, choir, percussion ensemble, and other chamber configurations.
Business and Entrepreneurship
Running a Non-Profit Chamber Ensemble
PRISM discusses the process of organizing and maintaining a non-profit organization, including day-to-day business operations, strategic planning, resource/audience/board development, and distribution of administrative work within the organization. The presentation also examines strategies to ensure the longevity of an ensemble.
Starting Your Own Record Label: From Concept to Album
The PRISM Quartet self-produces recordings for its own label, XAS Records, distributed worldwide by Naxos of America. This session covers everything from developing thematic recording concepts to artwork/design, distribution, and PR/marketing strategies. The session also addresses the role of the executive producer and fundraising for recording projects.
Establishing an Artistic Identity in a Crowded Field
This session focuses on the development of a unique artistic identity as a means of distinguishing oneself in the music profession. It includes a discussion of performance practice and composition, programming and concert curation, branding through design and image, language, and more.
Producing Your Own Concert Series
PRISM presents strategies for instituting and managing a self-produced concert series. Topics: curating programs (including commissioning new works), artistic collaborations, marketing/audience development, public relations, and institutional partnerships.
Establishing a Private Studio and Best Practices for Securing a Teaching Position
This session is a how-to guide for emerging music teachers to develop private music instruction studios.
Fundraising: Developing Institutional, Corporate and Individual Support
PRISM Quartet members provide an overview of potential sources of financial support for both individual artists and music organizations.
Marketing and Public Relations: Attracting Media Attention to Build Audiences
Marketing and public relations are two means of building a following for musicians and their projects. Learn the fundamentals of advertising and promoting your work to media outlets.
Recording and Technology
These sessions are designed for college students studying audio engineering and related technologies, and performance majors interested in acquiring knowledge about the recording process.
The Recording Session
PRISM members address production practices in recording sessions (including self-recording), such as equipment selection; mic placement; session protocols and the roles of the producer and engineer.
PRISM members address post-production practices, including editing, mixing, and mastering using industry standard platforms, plug-ins, and external effects processors.
Basic Video Techniques for the Performing Artist
This session covers many basic concepts that will help you produce good videos for recitals, competitions, auditions, and more. Topics include framing, focussing, exposure, white balance, multi-camera shooting, editing, color correction, audio syncing, and more.
Composers Forum: Writing for the Saxophone Quartet
Session for composers in which PRISM discusses writing for the saxophone; includes demonstrations of pre-existing works that show a range of approaches, use of various extended techniques, and idiomatic practices.
Composition students write short pieces specifically for the PRISM Quartet (or solo members of the group, during the pandemic). PRISM provides feedback, from use of notation to content and development of musical ideas.
Composition for Kids
Elementary school kids work with PRISM over multiple sessions to transcribe a collection of saxophone sounds into written symbols, and use those symbols to create graphic scores of their own music compositions. Students team up with the Quartet to develop performances of their works.
Unlocking Your Inner Composer
Adults and teens work with PRISM Quartet member over multiple sessions to create their own works for solo saxophone or saxophone quartet.
PRISM Quartet Institute has partnered with host organizations— community arts schools, after school programs, HBCUs, and more— throughout the country to serve constituents from diverse backgrounds and walks of life. In addition to group sessions, we work one-on-one with constituents to deepen PQI’s impact. PQI’s Mentorship Program serves aspiring artists by connecting them as mentees to individual PRISM Quartet members who provide career and professional development guidance. The program prioritizes artists who are underrepresented in the chamber music field or the nonprofit arts sector—whose opportunities have been limited by race or ethnicity, class, geography, or disability. This service, provided at no cost to mentees, enables PRISM to address historic inequities in the music sector that persist today.