Well done and many thanks to all the members of the East Lothian Guitar Ensemble – one of six ensembles to take part in last night’s excellent Showcase Concert. It was a full house in a newly vamped Brunton Hall. even although we had a ‘hard hat tour’ at an In Service in August, the place was barely recognisable – what a transformation. For those who haven’t seen the place, let me attach a few pictures:
New info has been posted here about recommended clip-on tuners and strings. I would thoroughly recommend everyone in a school guitar group to get a clip-on tuner as it enables you to tune in a noisy environment – like a school concert.
I would also recommend getting new strings (well) in advance of exams and concerts – especially the East Lothian Showcase Concert (Brunton Hall, Wednesady 13 March)
Thanks to David Gilmour for getting this blog back from the void. There’ll be play-along midi files before you know it
The Answered Question is the overall title of three video interviews in which composers offer tips to pupils currently engaged in the Composing/Arranging components of SQA Music courses.
The composers featured in the videos are: David Trouton, John Harris and Ken Johnston. Each one introduces themselves in the videos. John and Ken are currently working on a composition resource to be housed here on eduBuzz in September. When it is launched, I shall post a link on this blog.
I was hoping to embed the three videos here (so you wouldn’t be led away from the page) but there seems to be a technical snag. When it’s fixed I’ll change this. In the meantime, here are links to the films:
… begins Monday 6 June http://www.apmt.org/Info/NationalMusicTherapyWeek/tabid/307/Default.aspx
Isn’t it funny how something you’ve rarely thought about grabs your attention and then seems to crop up everywhere? I experienced this recently in the world of fonts – no really.
A friend mentioned that Comic Sans was under attack, mentioning that it made life difficult for dyslexic people. Discussion with a couple of dyslexic friends led me to understand that simple, sans serif fonts were thought to be easier to read. I became obsessed by fonts for a few days, as you do, and left it at that.
Then, my mind turned to Amazon’s Kindle. I haven’t bought one, but downloaded Kindle for PC (a free download, granting access to thousands of free books) and was impressed. I particularly liked that one could adjust font size and words-per-line in a way that seemed to assist speed reading* – I never fancied the idea of lengthy sessions reading from the screen – not a laptop screen, anyway.
I then came upon a couple of articles by a favourite science writer, Jonah Lehrer (author of the intriguingly titled Proust Was a Neuroscientist – look inside the book here). The first post was on e-reading in general while the second concentrated on ugly fonts. This latter post directed the reader to research carried out by Princeton University‘s Department of Psychology, which tends to suggest that the easy fonts favoured by e-readers may result in poorer retention – or conversely that changing fonts could prove a cost-effective way of bringing about improvement in schools and colleges.
I found this interesting on many levels: as someone in education; as someone who knows people who find difficult fonts to be just that; as someone who doesn’t like the look of easy fonts (my preferred fonts are Times New Roman; Georgia and Traditional Arabic (misleading name as the letters are Roman…). I imagine that much more research remains to be carried out in this field.
I’d be interested in hearing your experiences and views on fonts.
It might come as a surprise to some but there are also variable fonts in the world of printed music. In this video about Sibelius score writing software (used in our schools by pupils and staff alike) you can see, for example, the difference between a standard font and a jazz one (feigning hand-written music) which appears at 3:08
* I only use speed reading when reading for info as opposed to reading for pleasure.
Yesterday was an interesting and unusual one. NBHS Activities Week had conferred upon my Tuesday a blank canvas which would normally be spent on a variety of tasks: reports; admin; writing ensemble arrangements for next session – or for primary/secondary liaison events towards the end of this term.
However, this day was a little different. It kicked off with a meeting to talk through the logistics (transport, amplification, etc.) of a group of NBHS pupils who are to appear at the opening ceremony of the 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. This is a real coup for the pupils to represent their school, county and country at this prestigious event. The opening ceremony is on Monday 28 June and I hope to post any ensuing audio or video footage here.
Following this I went with Julia Wilson (PT Music) to the National Museum of Flight (East Fortune)
for the launch of The Lammermuir Festival 2010. From 10-19 Sept, this new festival will feature a variety of concerts in some of East Lothian’s most attractive and unusual venues. James Waters of Festival & Events International talked us through the genesis and gestation of the idea and Hugh McDonald (director of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 1991 to 2006) talked us through some of the events, featuring artists such as: Scottish Chamber Orchestra; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Dunedin Consort; Philip Higham; Navarra String Quartet; National Youth Choir of Scotland & Mahan Esfahani featured here in Bach’s English Suite No. 5:
On Saturday 18th September, my East Lothian colleague and friend, Chris Day (on the right of the picture),
will give performance (or rather three performances at 1:00, 2:00 and 3.00) of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint. This work features one live electric guitar in conjunction with eleven pre-recorded guitars (there go his summer holidays) – in surround sound. In the hangar which houses Concorde, this should be an audio treat. This clip will give you some idea of the work:
Later in the day, the team were to discuss ways in which pupils in East Lothian school pupils can become involved. When I find out more, I’ll post details here.
On Wednesday 24th, I was privileged to accompany NBHS’s Zoe (voice), Bess, Polly, Callum & Fraser (guitars) in a performance of four songs by Robert Burns at East Lothian’s latest Head Teachers’ Conference in The Ministry of Truth (John Muir House).
There is some video footage of these very well received performances which I hope to edit and post later.
In addition to playing, the visit featured a public interview of the pupils on how their music contributes to: the school; the community; their learning in general. I was very impressed at the calm and articulate way in which the pupils handled this part of the visit.
The troupe was actually smaller than originally intended as two pupils were involved in S3 exams while another, in S6, was being interviewed (successfully) for a place at Newcastle University. In a world where people worry about the resilience of future generations, I was impressed at how these performances were able to go ahead with 3/8 of the personnel missing.
I haven’t written much lately as things have been very busy, but hope to catch up a bit. NBHS’s production of Fiddler was thoroughly enjoyable. It’s a very interesting musical in each half of the show ends on a sour note: (1) the wrecking of a wedding by local police (2) the entire population begin turfed out of their beloved Anatevka. Somehow, this doesn’t detract from the joy of watching pupils excel. I was impressed not only by those on stage but also by the pupils in the band, who coped magnificently with a tough challenge. I couldn’t have coped with that at their age. I would imagine that for the two lead characters, this experience will be one of the most memorable of their lives.
New play-along midis have been posted on the Guitar Group Midis page.