Tuning the Concert

Gold Arts Award Portfolio

Classical musician wants jazz/rock/pop musicians’ skills November 19, 2010

Filed under: 1C: Impact — concerttuning @ 1:28 pm
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Attending a number of events has highlighted that classical musicians need to have more than technical or performance skills. This has made me realise that my classical training has not equipped me with all the skills I need to work in the C21st.

To run music workshops you need to be able to improvise, play by ear and memorise music. These are skills that come naturally to jazz or rock musicians, but something I feel I am lacking.

Consequently, I would like to develop skills in this area.

  • I have already tried improvising by alternating musical phrases with my brother on the electric guitar.
  • I am not using music notation for my musical storytelling which I hope will improve my musical memory.
  • I am also learning tunes aurally by listening to them on YouTube or by working out familair tunes by trail and error on the cello.
  • I am even performing with a band in December and will need to compose my own cello line.
 

Looking beyond classical music September 26, 2010

Filed under: 1C: Impact — concerttuning @ 6:57 pm
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I have come to the realisation that before I started my Gold Arts Award, my listening habits were very restrictive. I have since  started to listen to a broader range of music.

I grew up choosing to listen to classical music because it was the type of music that I was playing and I also wanted to learn about it. However, this was to the detriment of listening to pop, folk, world, jazz, rock etc.

Attending some alternative concerts, has showed me that not only do I enjoy listening to non-classical music but it is a vital way to invigorate concerts and classical music. See my reviews about jazz and folk at the BBC Proms.

Subsequently, I have started to expand my CD collection.

  • It all started when I went to Exhibition Music Day. There was a large selection of music from all styles and nationalities to sample for free. As well as buying Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal’s CD after hearing them in concert (which I reviewed here), I also very unusually for myself, bought an album by a singer who I heard do an acoustic set at the French Institute. I liked her innocence and simplicity. It reminded me that music does not have to be complex to have an impact. The album is called ‘Inside Over Here’ by Rozi Plain.

(more…)

 

Another way: an informal jazz concert June 4, 2010

I heard the Yazz Ahmed Trio perform at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the Late Shift events going on in the art gallery.

What I found interesting was the flexibility in the way you could listen to the concert. Audience members came and went as they pleased. They either sat down to focus on the music, or some just lingered or merely walked on past.

This recognises that different audience members will have different attention spans for a multitude of reasons. Conditioned by classical concerts, it made me feel quite awkward to leave half way through the set, as it seemed disrespectful to the musicians. However, I came away with a much more positive memory of the experience having left when I had reached saturation point, rather than forcing myself to listen to it all and get bored.

Perhaps we should try to offer this flexibility in classical concert too? However, this would not be as feasible in a paid concert, as audience members may feel that they had to get their monies worth. Perhaps we could offer an alternative activity if people needed a break from the music i.e. go and get a drink (like during the Night Shift concerts by OAE) or provide paper and pencils for drawing activities.