09 February, 2016

Once again it’s been a busy few months since I last posted… I’m now halfway through my Honours year, it’s flying by!  As part of my course I chose to do a research project looking at the skills and considerations required of musicians performing in healthcare environments.  Over three months I did weekly interactive performances in different hospital wards and departments.  My performances were interactive, with patients encouraged to join in, sing along and share any stories or memories that the music brought them.  One of my favourite moments was when I discovered that an elderly gentleman grew up literally around the corner from where I’ve lived for the last 12 years, and he told me lots of brilliant stories about the local area and his childhood here.

My dissertation is going well too, I’m writing it about the function and use of music in a story or narrative.  In addition to traditional storytelling, I’ve been looking at other genres such as films, tv, cartoons and computer games.  One of the plus sides of my project is that I’ve had a good excuse to watch lots of films and things, all in the name of research of course! The slight downside is that now I can’t seem to just sit and watch a film or tv programme for fun without analysing their use of music…

I’ve had lots of fun and interesting gigs and events recently too, especially over Christmas and New Year.  It’s such a busy but brilliant time of year for a music teacher, and I loved seeing my young pupils performing in their Christmas concerts.  One of my own gig highlights recently was performing at a storytelling and music event in a bakery (pictured), where I sang and played a selection of food and drink related songs and tunes. We were treated to some delicious home-baking between performances, and overall the event had a lovely laid-back atmosphere.

There’s lots to come over the next few months as well, with my booking diary filling up quickly with gigs and events.  I’m also working on some new material and sowing the seeds of projects and new adventures for when I finish my degree.  It’s a wee bit scary, but a big bit exciting!

08 November, 2015

Once again time has flown by, I was surprised to see that my last post was in April! It’s been a busy few months since then, with a summer full of teaching, weddings and gigs taking me to lots of different venues all across Scotland.  I even managed to squeeze in a holiday to Rome – it was the first time I’ve been there and I’ve fallen in love with it.  There’s so much to see and do, and I loved starting the day in a wee outside cafe, sun shining, cappuccino in hand.  My morning coffee in rainy Glasgow isn’t quite the same!

Holiday over, it was back to the start of a new academic year, and my last year as a student (for now anyway…).  I’m now in my Honours year of the BA Scottish Music program at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and it’s shaping up to be a busy but brilliant year.  One of the electives I’ve chosen is a research project, and I’ve decided to explore the skills and considerations required of musicians when performing in hospital environments.  As part of this I’m doing a series of performances in different wards of a hospital, for example, mental health, children’s ward (acute care) and different waiting areas.  It’ll be really interesting to compare my experiences in each of the wards, and to think about what sort of music and songs would be appropriate for each.

I have to do an Honours project/dissertation this year too – scary stuff! I’m really interested in storytelling, and in the not too distant future I hope to write a children’s story and compose accompanying music.  So in preparation for this, I’ve decided to research the function of music accompanying a story or narrative, and how it can be included to create emotion, encourage imagination and build suspense.  I’ve started looking into the use of music in different genres, such as traditional storytelling, film and tv, computer game  and cartoon music, and it’s absolutely fascinating.  At first I thought the dissertation word count seemed huge, but at this rate I’ll be there in no time!

I’ve started back as a volunteer with a local storytelling centre, now that the group has started back after the summer holidays.  I’m helping with a storytelling group for 5-7 year olds, and really enjoying it so far.  I’m also doing a series of workshops in a nursery and primary school, working with children aged from 3 to Primary 3.  I really enjoy working with this age group – I love their enthusiasm and how quickly they pick up new things.