Bursary Winner 2017 Blog #2
The life of a musician, practice, practice, performance!
Since I wrote last, my musical calendar has been completely jam-packed, with my practice schedule almost doubling due to the amount of performances… the ‘life of a musician’ I am told!
I met with the Festival on the 1st of June to discuss what more I could do as their youth ambassador, and we set up a few dates for over the summer.
During the summer, I performed a 10-minute programme at the Canterbury Festival Patrons dinner. Honestly, I’d felt slightly overwhelmed at being in a small room with all of the people who make the festival possible, but the atmosphere was so warming. After performing, I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with everyone, and even taught a few how to hold my sticks and try to play!
By kind invitation of David Burridge, one of the judges from the Young Musician Bursary, I also performed at The Mayor’s Concert in Dover Town Hall in July. The first to perform were the students of Aspen 2, Whitfield Aspen, all of whom had ‘profound, severe or complex learning needs.’ They sang ‘This is me’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’ accompanied by ‘Revelation Springs.’ It was an incredibly moving performance- I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room! Watching the students enjoying themselves through music and performance, an opportunity which is being limited in many schools, was amazing. And with lyrics so fitting for those young people being themselves, it made for a very special performance.
I then performed a half an hour programme at Deal Festival on the 4th of July, consisting of 5 pieces on the marimba, including:
Nancy by Emmanuel Sejourné
Raindance by Alice Gomez
Butterfly by Nils Rohwer
Wind by Lin Chin Cheng
And Odessa by Matthew Lorrick
Having the stage completely to myself, although intimidating, was an amazing experience. Introducing each of my pieces with a short description of the composer and background of the music was also a new experience for me and definitely helped me in establishing a better relationship with the audience and made me feel more comfortable standing in front of everyone.
Aside from these events I have also performed with Cobham Ladies Choir, Junior Trinity and as a soloist with the East Malling Singers.
On the 18th of July, as part of my role as youth ambassador for the festival, I visited Littlebourne Church of England primary school and organised a junk percussion workshop for Years 1 and 2. I asked each of the children to bring a bucket, pot, pan, drum or any other item that they could use to make a sound on, and then proceeded to teach the group basic rhythms in a drum circle. After they all felt well enough acquainted with the rhythms, the room was split into four groups, and the rhythms were utilized to create group pieces, which were performed at the end. At the request of the children, we also played ‘Rhythm Whispers’, where someone came up with a phrase which was then passed around the circle; although we somehow always ended up coming back to the same rhythm! This was an incredible experience that I am so grateful to have been given. I loved watching the students’ engagement with the tasks, particularly seeing how much they enjoyed performing their pieces at the end and coming up with their group names! It was a thoroughly rewarding experience, and one that I will never forget.
I also had my Grade 8 Orchestral percussion exam on the 1st of July, and quite honestly felt slightly underprepared what with the end of term at school and all of the upcoming dates I was practicing for. Within the exam I had to play three pieces across varying orchestral percussion. I chose a snare drum piece, a timpani piece and a marimba piece. I was most nervous for the sight-reading section of the exam, as I find it particularly difficult. Fortunately, I am regularly exposed to new pieces and sight reading within orchestras and made sure to practice sight reading at home as much as I could (although I may not have wanted to!) Luckily, my pieces and scales also went well, and I received a Distinction.