Setting myself some homework

Hello All,

I’ve just come out of a really busy January of music directing, conducing Les Noces at the beginning of the month, conducting a children’s chorus for OAE in the middle and MDing Philip Venables & Ted Huffman’s The F**gots And Their Friends Between Revolutions  at Southbank Centre at the end! I then followed this with a piano recital at Royal Concert Hall Nottingham featuring lots of synths and other gadgets – even a Game Boy!

I’ve learned over the years that music directing within our fundamentally commercial industry encourages me to be a very solutions-based musician; time is tight so a large part of my role is finding a way to make things work within the given rehearsal time. However, this doesn’t have the best influence on my composing. It used to – I used to be so fast at rattling out pieces that were concise and tidy. But now I am increasingly seeing the fruits of what I can write when I allow myself to sit in the mess, the multiple options, and the indecision for longer, I don’t want to slip into old habits. (A month on and I still haven’t grown to dislike my Cage Letters – unusual for me!)

So, now that I have a little more space in my diary, I want to give the creator portion of my imagination a little love. I was originally going to write a list of exercises for myself to work through…but that will only drive me to complete them as soon as possible. Instead, I’ve chosen one:

  1. Write 10 different openings to a work using the notes AGED FACE (!)

I want to encourage my mind to think of more options even if it feels like the answer is already out. I also want to become more comfortable with leaving things open or unfinished, at least postponing my desire to race to the double barline.

Wish me luck!

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