Tuning the Concert

Gold Arts Award Portfolio

Interview with an animateur, Sam Glazer August 4, 2010

Filed under: 1B: research — concerttuning @ 10:39 am
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I met up with Sam Glazer after a schools project to hear about his career and his opinion on tuning the concert.

After an English degree he went into marketing and PR. However, after a musician training project with the ASMF in Colchester he decided to undertake a career change to become a musician and animateur. He held an apprenticeship at Spitalfields Music and trained on the job working for institutions such as Wigmore Hall and Glynbourne. He says he is very happy with this decision to change career as he has gained confidence in the process as well as it being a journey of discovery.

Sam explained that what he does is not teaching nor is it his aim is to bring classical music to people but rather to ‘make music with people’. Regardless of technical ability and personality, music can be a meeting point as it is such a collaborative art form.

It was suggested that classical music should look outside itself and be open to influence from folk and art. This was the case in the past for composers such as Dvorak and Liszt but today classical music has become very fixed, as we play the same repertoire. Sam explained that you cannot have a dialogue on one person’s terms but it is necessary to talk to others. This is the case with classical music.

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Future Career plans… August 3, 2010

Filed under: 1B: research — concerttuning @ 7:42 pm
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Meeting professionals in a variety of fields in the music industry has made me question where I would like my own career to take me.

The most enjoyable part of my current job is organising the family concerts and events. As well as the organisational side, I like the interaction with the children as well as demystifying music and making it fun.

Consequently, I am considering whether to move out from my administrative role down the animateur/workshop or music teacher route. In an ideal world, I would like to use animateur techniques in a more stable position within a school or organisation. I have started researching career options and found musicleaders website very helpful as well as a document published in 2004 called Teaching Music, which sets out all the career options.

I spoke to my Arts Advisor, Philippa who suggested the following plan of action:

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Administrator turning Animateur July 27, 2010

I met Becky on 15 July 2010 to ask her some questions about her career and her view on Tuning the Concert.

She had previously had lots of teaching and workshop experience before working at the BBC Proms as learning and audience development administrator which then led onto her job of Learning Assistant at BBC Symphony Orchestra. Inspiringly, she is currently taking a part-time one day a week course at Goldsmiths to train as an animateur, which she hopes will help her career development.

When asked how successful music outreach is at introducing people to classical music and to the concert, she explained that is the process that participants go through is equally as important as inspring them to attend a concert.

However, there are a number of scheme and events to help introduce new-comers to the concert, such as the Out and About Prom at Westfield (reviewed here) and family introductions at the Proms as well as free Proms. Interestingly, her opinion has changed favourably about the Westfield event though crucially it presents serious music and maintains its quality, though in an alternative venue.

Amazingly, they managed to get 100 children to attend a concert where Stockhausen was programmed, as they were involved in the pre-concert performance. As they had to be there anyway, it was easier to get the families to attend the concert even though the programme was rather hard-core. It was a valuable lesson for the children in the way they formed an opinion of Stockhausen’s music, even if they didn’t choose to hear it again.

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Shadowing a music-making day on a Outreach project July 22, 2010

On Monday 19 July, I shadowed an animateur and two musicians during an orchestral outreach project in a Primary school in Oxford. It was day four of the project and they were using the theme of the solar system to inspire their work.

I came in when they were working on creating compositions using graphic scores. They were using percussion instruments as well as a number of miniature violins to create compositions about black holes, red planets and asteroids. They later performed their works to the rest of the school in key stage 2 as well as performing 3 songs: 2 taught and 1 that they composed themselves.

Some interesting things that I observed:

  • I liked the way as a method of crowd control, the animatuer would sometimes call out a word and the children would automatically respond. For example, code words used included quail and shark!
  • I was impressed how keen all the students were to try the violins. Playing a so-called ‘proper’ instrument was deemed cool.
  • Each of the groups had very different method of approaching the graphic scores. I particularly liked one score in the way that it was circular.
  • It was problematic keeping the graphic scores simple as they were given so much freedom at the beginning.
  • While playing with the musicians may appear to be the highlight for the students, when watching another group’s work they were occupied by watching the professional instrumentalists.

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