Saturday, 17 November 2012

Piano week

This time last week I was rushing from a wedding gig in a marquee.  We were chilly until the hot air machine was switched on and then baking as it was pointing at the band. Then it was switched back off and the sweat cooled on our backs.

 So it was good to go from there to a bonfire-and-firework birthday party on a friend's farm. He had been storing school pianos for a tuner and four of them had been condemned, after having all useful parts removed. These pianos formed the heart of the bonfire and, surrounded by pallets, they made a fine fire.

 My own piano gets little use, I'm afraid. I like to bash out carols at Christmas but the children have stopped playing and during recent and continuing building work it has been almost inaccessible behind boxes and papers. So it was good that the piano tuner came last week, forcing me to tidy the room and rediscover the instrument. Hopefully it will be some years before it ends up on a bonfire, although it would be an effective cure for the woodworm with which it is afflicted.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Success story

It's always a pleasure to blow my own trumpet but last week two of my students did the blowing for me.  They took the Associated Board's Jazz Saxophone Grade 5 exam.  Usually the results take an age to come through but this time it took just over a week.  And great news!  They were each awarded 'Distinction' (which is the highest band, being better than a merit which in turn is better than a pass).  Whoopee!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Three Colours

On Friday I went to Polka Theatre in Wimbledon to help Joy Haynes hold an audition for a puppeteer/performer to work alongside dancer Jasmiina Sipila in a new production.  The piece will be a collaboration between Polka Theatre and Norwich Puppet Theatre and is aimed at children aged between two and four years.  My part was to provide some musical accompaniment while the applicants worked individually and then in pairs.  They were all very strong and I love improvising, especially with artists and dancers, so I was in clover.

We did some research and development on the show last year and I'm looking forward to developing it further in the New Year.  Below is an edit of last year's R&D.  I improvised with Jasmiina and shadow puppeteer Zannie Fraser and brought in some pre-recorded sequences for them to work with.  Joy Haynes directed proceedings and James Gibbon made a great job of editing a three days' worth of material into ten minutes.  The show is about the three primary light colours and we spent a day each on Blue, Red and Green.