Join U-M Museum of Art in UMS Tweet Seats
The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) first participated in the UMS tweet seats program during the 2012-13 season, and the performance that I attended was Alison Balsom, Trumpet & the Scottish Ensemble (April 20th, 2013). As both a trumpet player and a social media enthusiast, I was very excited to attend the performance–and even more excited to be invited to live tweet the event with others that were interested in the interactive aspect of experiencing the performing arts.
As the music started, I began to think about the performance in more of a conceptual way–how could I articulate what I was seeing and hearing to someone wasn’t there? How could I describe the experience in words or pictures? Was there a way for me to educate or inspire people who were not present at the performance? As I was tweeting from the @ummamuseum handle, I was also thinking about ways that I could relate and connect the performance to the Museum. The Baroque period music that filled Hill Auditorium on that night provided a great opportunity to delve into the various Baroque period works found in UMMA’s encyclopedic collection. Some of the paintings really seemed to ‘come alive’ to the music as I was looking at them.
After participating in the tweet seats myself, I realized two things: 1) there is unlimited potential in pairing UMMA’s vast collection of over 19,000 works with the diverse line-up of world-class performing arts presented by UMS each year, and 2) this presents a great opportunity for UMMA and our students to help create a parallel narrative and to draw connections between visual art and performing art. This season, we will work with our student docents to prepare a visual narrative from UMMA’s collection prior to each of the UMS tweet seat shows. The students will then attend the shows and live-tweet the performances.
UMMA’s partnership with UMS seems very natural, specifically with the focus on dance performances during the 2013-2014 UMS season (look for an opening night Q&A and “You Can Dance” event accompanying each dance performance). You can watch for our blog posts (before) and tweets (during) the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (9/27), Ballet Preljocaj (11/1) and Compagnie Käfig (2/14). We hope to highlight some interesting ways that our collection relates specifically to the dance performances that we will be tweeting about this season. See you at #UMSLobby!
Are you interested in giving tweet seats a try? Call our ticket office and mention “tweet seats” (along with the related performance) to order at 734-764-2538.
Tweet Seats: Alison Balsom & the Scottish Ensemble
Meet the participants.
UMS: Tell us a little about you.
Sydney Hawkins: I am the new Communications Marketing Manager at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Professionally, I have a background in radio and digital marketing. Personally, I love road tripping, coffee drinking, music making, ice creaming, fun running, skydiving, and trying new things. I’ll be tweeting from @ummamuseum (I moonlight at @sydneyhawkins when I flip handles).
Angela Elkordy: I am an educational technologist; my passions are instructional technologies, teaching, learning and leading (K-20) as well as connecting with others through technology.
Megan Pfiester: Since a very young age I have been fascinated by all things musical whether it be Beethoven or the Beatles. I work as a communications coordinator and create as much music as possible all day every day. I am currently a member of the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra and hope to study violin performance and music education in the fall. You can find me at @MusiGeek on Twitter.
Cody Takacs: I am a recent graduate of the School of Music earning my BM in Double Bass Performance. I appear frequently as a soloist specializing in new music with performances ranging from the University of Michigan’s Collage Concert to Carnegie Hall. As an educator, I have been the double bass instructor for Skyline High School’s orchestra and chamber music coach for Michigan Bass Bash.
UMS: In one sentence, how would you describe your relationship with technology?
Sydney Hawkins: My relationship with technology is pretty balanced – it keeps me connected, but I don’t let myself disconnect from what is happening around me.
Angela Elkordy: Connected!
Megan Pfiester: I would say I’m pretty tech-savvy.
Cody Takacs: I use technology to build and maintain a strong musical network and also to share and express my musical ideas.
Jared Rawlings: My relationship with technology is necessary in order to build my personal/professional learning network.
UMS: To you, what does it mean to “be present” during a performance or another arts experience?
Sydney Hawkins: To me, to be present is to have the ability to clear your mind and ‘check out’ of the real world when you enter through the doors – it is an opportunity to relax, to recharge, and to get inspired.
Angela Elkordy: Being present, to me, means being immersed in the experience and making meaning by sharing the experience with others.
Megan Pfiester: Being present during a performance is so much more than simply taking a seat in a hall or an auditorium. To me it’s blissfully leaving whatever happened that day at the curb and not only listening to someone else’s creation and ideas. It’s taking it all in, sight sound and smell, and letting it stir your imagination.
Cody Takacs: To be “present” at a performance to me means 1) that the listener is physically present and 2) that they are mentally experiencing the performance on one or a combination of any of Aaron Copland’s three planes of listening that find best suiting for their own listening experience (the sensual, expressive, and sheerly musical planes).
Jared Rawlings: Being present means it’s a way of capturing the “lived experience” of the concert goer. Also, given the temporal nature of music, theatre, and dance the tweet seats project is a way of focusing in on this phenomenon that is exclusive to live arts in Ann Arbor.
Meet the tweets.
After the performance
UMS: How did tweeting affect your experience of the performance?
Sydney Hawkins: It made me ‘think’ about the performance in more of a conceptual way – how can I articulate what I’m seeing/hearing to someone who isn’t here? How can I describe this in words? Is there a way for me to educate or inspire people who aren’t here? As I was tweeting from the @ummamuseum handle, I was also thinking about ways that I could relate and connect the performance to the museum (which is something that I’d definitely do a bit more research on prior to the performance next time).
Angela Elkordy: In sharing the experience in real-time, I was more conscious of trying to communicate what I thought would be of interest to others who were not at the concert. It was really interesting to read the tweets of others experiencing the same event…. and hence tweeting provides a unique experience for participants who can share as the event is on-going. How else could that be accomplished? and how powerful is that? 🙂
Jared Rawlings: I was more aware of the people around me. More specifically, I was looking for audience body language, facial animation, and vocal reaction when audible. I tried to be a thorough “twitter correspondent” and with Ms. Balsom’s performance, I had to remind myself to tweet. She was absolutely captivating.
UMS: Did you expect this effect or are you surprised by this outcome?
Sydney Hawkins: I think that I learned quite a bit from the performance because I was actively watching/listening for things about it in which I could relay to others. I was also following the hashtag to see what other people in the tweet seats were saying about it too – it was a way of having a conversation without talking. I wasn’t completely surprised by this outcome – there are many conferences or lectures that I’ve been to that offer hashtags and I believe that it makes people pay attention and try to relay the important parts of the conversation. It provides for a more attentive audience.
Angela Elkordy: I usually share snippets of information while attending events, but in being part of a group tweeting was a great experience. I think we all wonder on some level how others experience things and the tweeting together made the event more social without being imposing. Yes, this was a pleasant surprise 🙂
Jared Rawlings: I was much more interested in the audience’s reaction of the performance. I could not believe the number of people who were there to see a trumpet performer. The upper balcony was almost full. I did not expect this outcome.
Are you interested in joining our tweet seats section? Sign up & we’ll let you what’s coming in the 2013-2014 season.