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End of the Year – May to June

With the start of May came my first year course work hand in, with my creative portfolio on the 8th which included any style of compositions that I have worked on throughout the year, and my technical portfolio on the 15th which included two compositions set to a brief and one orchestration task. This meant that the first few weeks of May were very busy finalising all of my pieces and recordings. After these two hands in dates and a few manic weeks of preparation for them I felt that a rest was very well deserved (as well as a couple pints with my friends!).

Flatpack Film Festival 2019 – Centrala, Digbeth

I also had the opportunity to take part in a composition for the Flatpack Film Festival 2019. I was in a group with two fellow composition students and we were set the task to re-score the soundtrack for a film. My group chose to do the ‘Powers of Ten’ film by Rae and Charles Eames. This was a really interesting project and I think it is something I would definitely take part in again if the opportunity arises. To read more about this project, click here …

Something else that I took part in was the Birmingham Record Company day at the Conservatoire. This was a packed day where we were able to go to different concerts and talks about the new music industry. My favourite was a sound installation that was produced by the group Post Paradise. This was a really interesting installation as it was an interactive experience and meant that the audience could be involved.

I managed to spend some time this month catching up on saxophone practice that I had missed over the busy period of my course. For next year I have decided to apply for saxophone lessons for my additional 5 hours second study. I think that this is really important as I have realised how much I enjoy playing and how helpful my lessons were in the past for my compositions.

Towards the beginning of June I had to take part in the final part of the course for first year which is the viva voce. This is an opportunity to explain and discuss your compositions. My exam was in the afternoon and was with Ed Bennet and Howard Skempton who are both composition tutors at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. We spent the time talking through my portfolio and what I thought were my strongest and weakest pieces. I found this to be a helpful process as it gave me the time to reflect and have constructive feedback on my work throughout the year.

During June I attended the first ever Summer Formal at the Conservatoire. This gave everyone the opportunity to put on a fancy outfit, drink a little too much, and sing a little too loud. There is not a lot to say about the Formal other than I really enjoyed myself and have lots of photographs to remember the night.

One of the final events I was able to see before I left Birmingham for the summer was the CODA Festival that ran on the 19th and 20th of June. This is a two day festival to showcase “new music” composers’ work around the Conservatoire. I aimed to go to as many events as possible however did miss a few when they were going on until 11 at night. One of my favourite events for the festival was the Jawbreaker concert on the Thursday morning. This was a series of seven pieces composed by Tom Campbell for a range of instruments. Each piece within this series had a different melodic phrase or motif that was explored and developed quickly through the piece.

Something else that I was asked to go and watch was the french horn flash mob run by Sarah Willis in New Street Station. I was also supporting my friend and fellow student Emily who was performing in the flash mob. This was an amazing opportunity to see 67 french horns of all different ages performing together as well as supporting my friends who were involved.

By the end of June my accommodation at University Locks was over. This meant there were two manic days of moving all my things back home for the summer as my accommodation for next year does not start until September.

My plan for the summer back home in rural Suffolk is to crack on with a few compositions that will hopefully be ready for September and also to spend my time working and earning money for myself going into my second year at the conservatoire.