Musicians love a chance to share and learn music together, and summer offers multiple opportunities wherever you look. Last week, Matt took part in one such opportunity – the ‘Music Summer School’ organised by Music for Everyone. Read on to find out why this is relevant to you…
Thanks to the hard work of the MfE team I had the pleasure of immersing myself in ensemble music-making for 3 days, joining with many other musicians of a variety of levels, ages and backgrounds – very much an embodiment of MfE’s name and mission. The theme was ‘The English Connection’ and repertoire included music from film and by Vaughan-Williams, Walton, Britten and Arnold.
The spirit of sharing was tangible, and the opportunity to learn from superb conductors through rehearsals and then to share that learning in a concert on the evening of the final day was inspiring. The end results were thrilling and some guests I had in the audience were taken aback by the high standards drawn out of us all, and by the clear enjoyment of everyone taking part.
Although I’ve played professionally as a pianist, I’m very much an amateur clarinettist, and I loved playing in the full orchestra and wind band as well as hearing the music produced by the string ensemble and SATB choir. Although I achieved Grade 8 when I was younger, playing with other clarinettists helped to refresh skills that I’d forgotten over years of barely touching my instrument, and I gained so much from the camaraderie within our section. It was a stimulating addition to my regular playing as a relatively new member of Wirksworth Community Orchestra, and my violin-playing fiancee had a similarly rewarding experience, enthused by both the playing and by the lunchtime concerts we were treated to each day. She and her fellow string players had the wonderful experience of playing a Telemann Viola Concerto with professional Violist Carmen Flores. All this came at a very accessible cost!
Amateur musicians are the lifeblood of MI retail and manufacture, and we ignore them (even passively) at our peril. It was great to engage in conversation about our choices of instrument, ligature and reeds, exploring the different benefits between my own 1960s Boosey & Hawkes Imperial and instruments including the Buffet R13s used by new friends I made. I came away feeling happy with my current choice of reed (a 3.0 D’Addario Mitchell Lurie) but also interested in re-exploring the classic Vandoren, and with the desire to move up from my old-fashioned two-screw ligature and ageing mouthpiece. I may even be sold on the benefits of a newer clarinet when funds allow. That’s forthcoming business for a specialist retailer, and I’m sure I’m not the only one considering future purchases.
Music for Everyone is a great registered charity run by people with a true passion for making music accessible and enjoyable, but also at a high standard and with a pitch-perfect level of challenge. They run a full programme of events throughout the year, offering encouragement to players (and singers) of all levels. These players are our present and future customers and feeding this by sharing and supporting the activities of MfE offers positive outcomes for the music-making and learning we all care so deeply about and for the MI industry. Let your customers know about opportunities like this, share social media posts and even consider direct support. The benefits for everyone are clear.
Take a look at the Summer Music School blog here, and explore the wider activities, mission and team throughout the charity’s engaging and informative website.