Video Slide Show soundtrack: all instruments performed by Andy Wasserman
MISSION STATEMENT - PART ONE: The art and science of listening
Andy's programs infuse wisdom through the cultivation of listening skills which validate respect and humility. Students who learn graciousness and empathy turn those principles into words and acts of kindness. This has a huge impact on changing the culture and climate of their lives in school, at home and in their community.
Listening is a cornerstone of all human interaction. Attentive listening fosters change in peoples’ attitudes toward themselves and others, developing emotional maturity and balance. The Chinese character TING (see image below) translates as the active verb "to listen." It embodies the process by which we learn to integrate 5 elements when listening intently.
STUDENT FEEDBACK: "Dear Mr. Wasserman - Before you came to our school I was limited to playing clarinet and singing. You taught me so much more. Now I am always listening to all kinds of music and the silence."
MISSION STATEMENT - PART TWO: The circle of cultural heritage transmission
Cultural arts have the power to act as an enduring force for positive change. Wasserman's primary objective is to nurture a broader awareness and deeper appreciation of humanity's cultural legacies. He achieves this by mixing accessible Western and non-Western music, employing an abundant array of acoustic and electronic instruments.
His aim is to protect the milieu of social justice, preserve the priceless treasure of world music cultures, and pass it forward. The meaningful experiences we share through music opens a door to gaining a greater understanding of harmony and unity in our world.
Cultural heritage is defined as the network of social graces within pathways of living, developed by a community from generation to generation. Connections are established between customs and practices, geographical locations, artistic expressions, historical context, meaningful objects and value systems.
Wasserman's methodical approach reverberates throughout his interactive programs as a circle of cultural heritage transmission:
- His audiences and students ENJOY participating,
- This enjoyment sparks a thirst for UNDERSTANDING.
- Through understanding, the appreciation of how to VALUE cultural enrichment is cherished.
- The cherished value instills a sense of CARING.
- By caring, their ability to ENJOY is magnified...and the cycle begins again and keeps circulating !
STUDENT FEEDBACK: "Mr. Wasserman: Thank you very much for coming to our school and teaching us so many fun, new instruments. I loved your program so much!!! It really changed my view of things. The way I see the world now is entirely different from how I used to see it. Instead of war and sadness, I see more unity and happiness - because you taught me that music is the voice of unity."
This diligence - his life's calling - has blossomed into a sustained career of performances, recordings, compositions and arts-in-education innovation since 1979 with Andy's collection of over 140 authentic wind, string, and percussion instruments. These instruments represent cultural traditions from West Africa, Japan and China, The Middle East, Latin America and Afro-Cuban diaspora, South American and Native American regions, including Jazz, America's national treasure.
Additionally, Andy has explored, created and conceived his own programming techniques in analog and digital music during the last 30 years of computer and electronic innovations, beginning with Apple's first Macintosh in 1987. Scroll down this page to access detailed information on his ELECTRONICA MUSIC TECHNOLOGY experience and equipment.
Andy's study and experience in the field of world musicology inspired his mission to create these participatory multi-cultural productions, They have been presented in performance, master classes, artist-in-residence and workshop venues at thousands of schools, festivals, colleges, museums, libraries and other public and private sites since 1979.
As of 2017, he continues to tour regularly and meet with acolades and positive audience feedback, spreading his message of global unity, social justice and healing through music with his original solo presentations “Making Music From Around the World”, “Instruments: Ancient to Future” and “Music: The Voice of Unity.” More details about Wasserman's work in the field of Arts-In-Education can be found at THIS LINK.
STUDENT FEEDBACK: "Mr. Wasserman - My time with you is one lesson that I will always remember. You came to our school to teach us about music, but you taught us so much more...THANKS !"
CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW a four minute video essay documenting Andy Wasserman's 2016 Artist Residency Program MUSIC THE VOICE OF UNITY
presented in a New Jersey elementary school, presented through MORRIS ARTS
THE World Music Experience BACKSTORY
Andy had the great good fortune to have Papa Ladji Camara as a mentor from 1998 - 2004. (photo on right is Andy and Ladji during a lesson.) Papa Ladji is a world renowned innovator from Norasoba, Guinea, West Africa and was the first master drummer of the original “Les Ballet Africain de Keita Fodeba." He is credited as being the very first jembe player to bring that instrument outside of the African continent to share with the rest of the globe. You can hear some of his music on the Lyricord label HERE, and read more about him at THIS LINK, as well as HERE, and at the African Music Encyclopedia
Working with Papa Ladji was the culmination of Wasserman's ethnomusicological studies that began in the early 1960's when Andy was a young boy starting his collection of musical instruments from Africa. In addition to his work with Papa Ladji, Andy studied at the Babatunde Olatunji School of African Dance and Music on 125th Street in Harlem, New York City during the early 1970's, and with David Locke at the New England Conservatory ethnomusicology studies faculty. He plays the jembe, sanghba, dun dun, balafon, mbira, talking drum and many other instruments from Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria and Ghana.
Japan and China
Andy Wasserman began learning the Japanese koto in 1976 and the hotchiku bamboo flute in 1972 along with continual studies of Asian culture and traditional music. He has a sizable collection of Asian gongs and drums as well.
Andy has a special interest in the ancient forms of music as medicine from ancient China. He has spent decades as a student of Tai Chi Chuan along with the principles of Chinese traditional medicine and continues life-long research on the philosophy of Taoism and Zen meditation as taught by Alan Watts.
The Middle East
Andy began studying the doumbek drums more than 20 years ago and is fluent in playing in odd meters. He brings his audiences a message of unity and tolerance as represented by music from many different countries in the Middle East including Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, etc.
Wasserman's Middle Eastern music is incorporated into his programs "Making Music From Around The World," "Instruments: Ancient to Future," and his 6-week artist residency series entitled "Music: The Voice of Unity."
Andy Wasserman has been studying the societies and music of the First Americans since 1971 when he studied Native culture with Jack Preston of the Seneca Nation at the State University of New York at New Paltz. In 1976 he helped Oglala Lakota leader Selo Black Crow prepare accomodations for the Sun Dance on Selo's land by the Pine Ridge Reservation in Wanblee, South Dakota. It was there that Selo Black Crow and Lakota elders initiated Andy into their traditional sweat lodge purification ceremony.
Andy has traveled thoughout the United States in order to meet with, learn from, and assist many Native American nations. After 30 years of research that included Lakota, Dakota and Iroquios cultures, he released "Bead Songs" on CD in 2007. The entire CD project honors Andy's friend Yahhazie, a master beadwork artist and an enrolled member of the Shoshone Bannock Tribe of Fort Hall, Idaho. She created the beaded moccasins and other regalia pictured on the CD.
He plays authentic Native American flutes made by traditional First Peoples flute makers Charles Littleleaf and Russell Wolf, among others, and plays drums made by Grey Wolf Drums and Cheryl and Keith Little Badger of Earthshadow Drums.
Afro-Cuban and Latin Percussion
Andy Wasserman began studying Afro-Cuban and Latin music with renowned drummer Danny Barahanas in 1973, starting with the bongos. His collection of instruments also includes congas, timbales, cajon, bells, shekere, guiros, and assorted hand percussion.
He learned a lot about the authenticity of this rich cultural heritage from New York master Afro-Cuban percussionist and educator Bobby Sanabria while Andy was researching and producing content for his 1995 Beat of the Blue Planet CD-ROM, including the importance of clave, and how to apply it as the "glue that holds the rhythm together" using the American drum set.
Andy has spent many years learning about and sharing the musical folklore of Brazil, Peru and Argentina. He has a collection of ocarinas. bamboo flutes and a large assortment of authentic hand percussion instruments made from natural materials from Mother Nature.
On piano, Andy demonstrates the connections between the Brazilian bossa nova rhythmic style and Jazz.
Electronica (MUSIC TECHNOLOGY)
Andy Wasserman's original, innovative arts-in-ed production entitled "Instruments: Ancient to Future" illuminates the connections between expressive acoustic performance techniques and electronic music soundscapes using state-of-the-art digital music technology.
As of 2016, Wasserman has 29 years experience as a sound designer, synthesizer programmer, digital sampling technician and live performance electronica artist. That section of his life's work began in 1987 when Andy co-founded "Sonic Architecture," a sampling sound library production service using the Akai S900 - the first popular digital sampler used on stage and in studios worldwide.
He went on to develop these musical ideas throughout the 1990's composing original music, performing, touring and teaching master classes throughout the US as an endorser of Emu Systems Digital Samplers with the electronica duo "Junglewire." Andy was also an early pioneer in CD-ROM interactive software, co-creating the innovative "Beat of the Blue Planet" computer program by Virtual Entertainment, a developer for Opcode Interactive. He has been creating audio, video, text and graphics content for the internet on a regular basis since 1991 through his studio production company TransMedia Sound & Music.
A TRIBUTE TO THE SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
Like so many people of his generation, Andy was profoundly inspired by Stevie Wonder to become a multi-instrumentalist in both acoustic and electronic mediums.
Stevie set an example of a musician who can do it all - not only playing all the instruments and programming your own sounds, but creating your own studio, producing your own music and having total control of every aspect of the creative process. Wonder's pioneering work contributed in one way or another to almost every innovation in music technology that we enjoy today.
Wasserman began envisioning what would become the master plan for his expanded musical direction after absorbing Stevie's 1972 album "Talking Book." He also owes a tremendous debt of gratitude along with all of humanity to Wonder for his commitment to music as a force for positive mentalism and social justice.
On behalf of all musicians and non-musicians alike: "THANK YOU, STEVIE !!!"
LIVE PLANETARIUM ELECTRONICA CONCERTS
From 2011 through 2012, Andy performed 45 solo performances of his original electronica-worldbeat production entitled "COSMIC RESONANCE: A Concert Within Worlds Under The Stars." He simultaneously triggering dozens of electronic instruments in real time along with acoustic instruments from around the world to create a live, interactive soundtrack for astronomy shows accompanying the DigiStar HiDef sky presentations at the Longo Planetarium in New Jersey. (Click HERE to view concert poster.)
MUSIC TECHNOLOGY CATEGORIES Andy uses in his interactive concerts, workshops and residencies on stage, in studio production and for education
(for more detailed information, please CONTACT ANDY WASSERMAN for extensive list of all equipment and electronic instruments)
KEYBOARDS, DIGITAL PIANOS and SYNTHESIZERS
ALTERNATE MIDI and USB CONTROLLERS
COMPUTER and ELECTRONICA PERFORMANCE GEAR
RECORDING, SOUND and DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY FOR STUDIO AND STAGE PERFORMANCES
"Line 6 Dream Stage Streamlines Setup and Maximizes Sound Quality for Musician and Educator Andy Wasserman"
ACOUSTIC DRUM KITS
Andy Wasserman's showcase "BEAD SONGS" custom drum kit (photo on left)
~ core kit: 5-piece maple shell drum kit, handmade in USA by Phattie Drums
~ drum exterior finish: wrap production by Bum Wrap Drum Company
~ bass drum microphone: TPSONE1 custom wrapped 40 ounce floating subkick mic
This drum kit is a respectful tribute intended to honor the traditional Shoshone-Bannock bead work of tribal member Yahhazie. She created the Native American design on moccasins she made for Andy in 2006 (click THIS LINK to view) of which a two-inch square section was cropped to produce the tile artwork pattern on drums and mat.
additional drum kits
- SONOR "2015 Vintage Teardrop" German-made 4-piece beech shell drum kit
- PRECISION CUSTOM DRUMS "Idris Tribute" USA-made 6-piece maple drum kit
- TRAPS A-440 5-piece compact acoustic drum set
- Snare drums by Sonor, Canopus, Tama, Precision, Phattie
- Cymbals by Zildjian, Sabian, Istanbul Agop, Bosphorus, Paiste, Hammerax
Wasserman presents Jazz as a key component in his arts-in-education programs through it's contribution to the world as one of America's few truly original, indigenous art forms, along with the music of the Native Americans.
Andy began improvising when he was 6 years old. He was given Erroll Garner's "CLOSEUP IN SWING" album for his ninth bithday and knew upon first listening that this is what he was put on earth to do.
His decades of study under the mentorship of Jazz master pianist Dwike Mitchell and Jazz innovator George Russell helped him realize his aim. Wasserman has been recognized throughout his dedicated career as one of the more musical and inspired solo pianists of his generation.
More info on Andy's Jazz artistry can be found HERE.