Back to it – January

A new year and a new term. Being back in Birmingham came to me like a breath of fresh air. I felt refreshed after the Christmas break and ready to get back into the swing of things. Despite the upset of leaving home for a second time I knew that being back in Birmingham provides me with opportunity and motivation for my degree.

The first step for me this January was to get on top of all of my compositions that are in progress. I found that making a clear plan for each of my works had helped me massively to keep on target for the portfolio hand-in in May.

As part of my portfolio I am required to have recordings of each of my compositions. I thought I would struggle with and so planning out my process would make it a lot easier. I started by talking to my tutor and working out the logistics of each of my pieces. This led me to the decision that I would need to have films of some of the pieces I have been working on because they have a visual element to them that I consider to be important. This required me to engage with some of the music technology students who would be able to produces recordings in both visual and audio mediums.

Over the Christmas period I had set myself the goal to finish any scores that I had started in the first term. This was difficult as I found that when being at home I lost the level of motivation that I had develop whilst being surrounded by musicians and other composers. Despite this I managed to finalise a few of my pieces which meant when I got back to Birmingham I could start organising recordings and performances.

Within the first few weeks back I have completed my first recording. This was of the initial scores of ‘Postcard Paint’. I asked a good friend of mine who is a piano student at the Conservatoire to perform these pieces for me. They were very successful recordings which meant I could move on to the next stage of this project. This involved sharing these recordings with a few people and asking them to draw their responses on paper. Once this part is complete my next step will be to collect all of the drawings and lift out the shapes and areas that I think will evoke the best repose from the performer. I will then use these elements to create a graphic score for the final performance.

Gina McDonald – Piano Performance Student

This January I was given the opportunity to have one of my pieces professionally performed and recorded. My piece is entitled ‘Flute in the Wind’ which was a project that I had been set as part of the course for solo flute with extend performance techniques. There is a page on my website all about the process and outcome of this project. Click here to read it…

The next step for me is to confirm and book performances of my other pieces as well as organising recording time. I will need to work on a few more projects such as the Flatpack Film Festival, and an advert soundtrack. I also need to produce a piece that includes an element of music technology, for this I am thinking of using live performance combined with a loop pedal.

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