As a performing-composer who also coaches musicians, my life is always shifting within this spectrum: composing, performing, coaching — and each impacts the others.  The interaction was very strong this week because I was teaching performance skills and improvisation and using one of my own compositions as the basis.

The students are in my online course “Baroque Flamenco Bootcamp” and it’s time for their Final Projects – which are really beginning projects because it’s nearing the end of the COURSE but it is the beginning of their relationship with this piece of music.

And we always do it the same way:  First they videotape a 90-second distilled version of the piece we call the “Half-Baked.” I give them feedback on it, and they use that feedback to help them create their Final Beginning Project.

“Half-baked” is a term my coaching partner Karen Montanaro, created for sharing work that is still in the ‘idea’ phase.

We discovered that if we share half-baked work and give only positive feedback about what IS there instead of what’s wrong, we could move very quickly from “idea” to “thing.”

So I ask my students to do the same thing: to create a half-baked.

If we share half-baked work & give positive feedback, we move quickly from 'idea' to 'thing.' Share on X

This half-baked is a miniature so they can focus in on performance skills.  So I ask them to distill it from a full-length piece to 90 seconds.  When you distill it, it helps you understand the structure and the piece becomes much stronger.  Then when you re-expand it, it maintains all that strength.

It’s also great to have a 90-second piece – you never know when it’ll come in handy.

But my students didn’t believe it was possible to get this piece down to 90 seconds, so I had to try to prove it to them.

There’s 3 videos, because I performed it first the way I might personally do it.  Then I did it like an advanced beginner – and finally I reinvented as a meditative piece because some of the students in the course want to use the piece in hospice and they way didn’t believe you could slow it down, make it introspective and still keep it to 90 seconds.

Some of the students in the course want to use the piece in hospice #BaroqueFlamenco Share on X

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