This week was a rather exciting one as I got my first article published in the college newspaper - Volume - which is published 3 times a year. This is very exciting, as a new job of sorts, and it was most exciting to get to hold the tangible edition of the newspaper in my hand and see what I had written. The pictures below show only part of it, so below I have put a copy of what I wrote:
Article title - Get involved!
In the past few months, since starting my specialist music study at Leeds College of Music, I've explored what it's like to be a first year music student and tried to discover some of the opportunities that new students can take advantage of.
Things to enhance curriculum work and things just for fun! One of the major things that I've realised is that specialising in study of one instrument doesn't limit the interests you have or the impact you can have on your own environment at all. Having a range of activities to fill your time with allows you to gain a wealth of knowledge and experience - to be involved with all the things you love and to not miss out on studying either.
So here are four things I've been up to:
1. A BAPAM (British association for performing arts medicine) programme has been launched this year at LCoM, and there is an increasing number of activities and work shops to take part in which help musicians look after themselves. The 'performance nerves' class at the beginning of this month helped students from all years and pathways to access the support they needed to feel more comfortable performing on stage - something that's really important as a musician! And after all, being able to unlock our full potential is one of the biggest reasons why we are here.
2. The LCoM student union newsletters students receive at the end of each month, alongside regular alerts of activities throughout the conservatoire, are the most useful ways to find out about things we might not usually. They promote all sorts of things from gig opportunities, to brand partnership days that come from the conservatoire's PR department - like the recent 1Xtra live sessions, where students got the opportunity to work with and speak to people like BBC presenter DJ Target and Island Record's A&R person.
3. This month, along with a few other students, I have been participating in the Temple Newsam project, working with dance students from the Northern School of Dance. This is a great example of how an email can turn into something life changing - after participating in the seventeenth century song class for LCoM's Creative Project week, this project was highlighted as an opportunity to put the skills gained during that time into practice. The project meant looking at the history of Temple Newsam house and bringing characters to life through music and dance, in period dress, to create a believable interactive experience for the audience. Being able to almost step back in time, to do something challenging and new simultaneously, was a major opportunity to represent the conservatoire and ourselves as musicians.
4. For extra vocal and performance practice, and as I really enjoy what I study, I sing with the Halle Youth Choir which means I travel to Manchester a lot but even this is not limiting, though I originally thought that it might be. Yet I still have time between rehearsals and study to work with the student representatives, the UNITE green team and BAPAM.
Also, if I can't get fully involved in something, that doesn't mean it isn't an opportunity - we can learn so much from others, especially here where staff and students share similar interests. For instance, in October Jakob Fichert and Jia Zhang performed an open rehearsal and concert based around classical solo piano pieces and duets, including one based on a Chinese folk song. There are frequently performances from our peers; the lunch time concerts, the Christmas opera, and all other orchestra, choral and soloist opportunities.
Just because something is enjoyable and entertaining doesn't render it useless to your studies - from the piano concert, I learned so much about how a successful ensemble works.
Always be interested in things around you, and what you're doing - a good attitude is a must in the music industry as confirmed at the recent PRS panel I went to. And keep your eyes open - golden opportunities are often hidden in plain sight.
So when reading through your inbox, don't forget how much you might miss out on by scrolling too hastily (end of article)
So yes - that's that! I wrote this back in December, but the newspaper comes out in the new year, so this might explain why some of the things I might have mentioned above seem familiar as I have probably mentioned a lot of it in previous articles as examples or in updates.
In further news, I am currently looking into two things - the first is the Kings singers summer camp in London next year (which I am currently in the application process for and looks very exciting - there is also one available in the US prior to the UK school) and secondly, closer to hand, is secondary study! Yes - I have decided to carry on with violin (as this instrument I was trained in with a teacher prior to university, whereas with piano I have always been self taught) so this should hopefully further assist me in my studies. The more I sight read with an instrument, the better my ears are with harmony and my sight singing vocally also improves radically (it all fits rather close together)
I've also been studying a few short courses at local classes, in psychology, sociology, literature, mathematics and environmental studies, which are proving extremely interesting and beneficial academic balance to my rather performance driven work in class. These classes are diploma courses and will hopefully prove further beneficial in the future.
As for vocal practice, this week I am working on the Schubert (still, but it is never work you tire of) the Mozart requiem, some Bach, Scarlatti and my current favourite, two songs from the song cycle Along the fields by Vaughan Williams - a spectacular work, for solo voice and violin accompaniment, though I am hoping to work with a cello in my interpretation to make my recital a little different, though for my lunch time concert in a few weeks it will probably be performed with just the piano. You can hear the whole song cycle (I am singing the first two) in the recital video below: