What a fantastic day we had at the music and drama expo at London Olympia.
On Friday 23rd February we were up early, and thats saying something for someone with two young children!
We headed up to London for the Music Teachers expo. Throughout the day there were workshops and stands for us to check out, the day is designed for all music and drama teachers, from classroom, peripatetic, private and music hubs.
We attended a few different workshops, one of my favourite being "How to tackle performance nerves" with Charlotte Tomlinson. She was a fantastic lady who herself is a concert pianist and has taught all over the world. She started by asking us all if we got nervous when we played? There was not one person who didn't! Wobbly Knees, sweaty hands, dry mouth you name it we had all experienced it!
"Fight, Flight or Freeze!" this was fascinating as rarely do we see a musician run off the stage before a performance, nor do we see them fighting the pianist or the conductor, instead as musicians we mainly freeze! I have certainly gone onto the stage and wondered how on earth my fingers are going to get through a certain passage! Instead of freezing we need to find different ways to calm ourself down, perhaps this is even before the performance:
*Visualise the performance stage
*Pretend the audience are our friends
*Have 5 minutes quiet time before the performance to breathe. (It sounds silly but sometimes I think we all forget to do this!)
*Do a physical warm up - stretch, touch your toes etc
*EAT! Some people need the sugar to help with a performance, however pick your food carefully! You don't want a huge sugar crash half way through a Mozart Concerto!
Charlotte talked about preparation! We all know preparation is everything however we will all have a few bars that we are slightly anxious about. Why not perform to friends and family, or visit the place you are due to perform so you can visualise the stage. Try to be ready for the performance two weeks before you are due to perform, this then gives you two weeks to think about, how you will walk onto the stage, where to stand and what to wear so you are comfortable. Don't forget to smile! Its all an act, if your audience see you smile they relax too!
The word "Performing" is slightly scary, instead why don't we think of "sharing our music" instead!
She also reminded me that we are only one component in a pieces of music's journey:
Creator - Writer - Performer - Audience
I think sometimes its so easy to get all caught up in the notes, that we forget we are telling someone else's story. Try to let the music speak for itself.
Probably the most valuable lesson I learnt from Charlotte was the power of positive thinking with no judgement! We are all guilty of thinking "its an F sharp you idiot! Come on Vicky play it right!" well in fact we should be saying to ourselves "OK Vicky, this time you played an F next time lets go for an F sharp!" Try to re program the voice in your head to give more positive feedback - mistakes are fine - we learn from our mistakes, this is how we get better!
I also got to meet James Rae, Im pretty sure that everyone has heard of James Rae! He was lovely and great to talk to about band music and what he has coming up! James is just finishing some new music that will be perfect for our beginners band, so watch this space! I couldn't help but ask for a cheeky little selfie!
New Music! Well... as you can imagine I was in heaven! Lots of new music for our groups
I had great fun looking through all the music, lots of new pieces for our groups including:
*The Easy Jazz band book
*Klezmer for flexible band
*Folk Swing in Three
*The Best of the Beetles
and many more!
We had a great day, I cant wait to get playing some of our new music and chatting to all our pupils about some of the hints and tips we found out!