The ensemble $2 Broom is directed by Professors Mark Hetzler (trombone) and Daniel Grabois (horn), who play in the group along with students. Participation in $2 Broom is open to any School of Music student on any instrument or voice. The group functions mostly as an improvising ensemble, though members may choose to write for the group as well.

$2 Broom in concert, Mills Hall.
$2 Broom in concert, Mills Hall.

Rehearsals alternate between smaller group work and full ensemble work. In the small groups, half of the participants work with Professor Hetzler and his hardware-based electronics, while the other half work with Professor Grabois and his software-based gear. In large ensemble rehearsals, both setups are used together. Students are encouraged to bring their own electronic effects, if they have their own technology.

Typical rehearsals will begin with guided improvisations using limiting rules, free improv exercises and extended techniques. As students become more comfortable at improvisation, the rules tend to vanish and the music-making becomes more comfortable and creative. By the end of the semester, students are able to go on stage with no printed music and perform for an hour or more with complete comfort.

The electronics used in the ensemble completely transform the sound each player makes. Students can learn how to operate the electronics through their participation in $2 Broom.

Read more about Mark Hetzler and his unique approach to music-making in this story from May, 2013.