Wednesday, 17 March 2010

My Musical Masterplan

I have always written music. As a child it was making up tunes in my head which I painstakingly repeated and rehearsed infront of anyone who would listen. As I grew older, and began the piano lessons I had pestered my mum about for what seemed like forever I started to realise that if you layer those tunes on top of each other they can work quite well. Phrases such as 'key', 'chord' and 'note' became everyday parlance. I was more than a little smug.

As I grew older I found learning music difficult. Not doing music, just learning it. The endless white pages and black dots seemed to become very boring all of a sudden and lost their earlier mystery. I began to dabble in other sorts of music, music that didn't require paper or worry about harmony, but made me feel free and excited and full of life.

I still regret not keeping up with my music lessons in such a strong way. My singing thirst for knowledge has remained, thank goodness, which means I now run choirs and teach an elite group for private singing lessons, as well as continuing to study myself.

Last night I was anxious. I was nervous and almost a little bit sick. For the first time I was going to allow someone to come and look at my musical arrangements. Songs which I have written or arranged, but have never shown. The inadequacy of my putting pen to paper on show for everyone to see. But this was no ordinary person. I contacted Karen Wimhurst who has written music for the Royal Shakespeare Company and is currently working at the Royal Opera House. When she arrived I felt like a small child again at my first piano lesson.

We went through arrangement after arrangement, Karen pulling each one apart ruthlessly with her Classical Music training, discussing the key of a piece, the dynamic, the arcitecture. It was fascinating stuff and continued to highlight what I knew to be true - I'm much better at practicing music, performing it and being spontaneous than committing notes to a score. The process makes me feel inadequate and more than a little bit rubbish.

Karen is helping me because I want to write musical scores for Theatre, with the hope of writing soundscapes and music for the shows here at St Mary's. Every show having a score of music written specifically for it, and working closely with Director and cast to make sure it's perfect.

At the moment, this seems a million miles away as I sit with my head in a sight reading book. But will hopefully become a reality. I'll let you know how I progress.

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