Through to the end of second year

Moving back to Birmingham after Christmas was the start of a busy second term. I had many composition projects planned and was really excited to jump in at the deep end and crack on with all of them.

This year I was asked to be a mentor as part of the Young Composers Project at the Conservatoire. I was very excited to be asked to be a mentor on this project as when I was studying for my A Levels I took part in it as a student. This project gives the opportunity for students between the ages of 14 and 18 to come and be part of composition workshops and activities. It was an amazing experience for me when I was younger and I also felt very inspired to be part of it as a mentor this year. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic and the Conservatoire being closed the final concert will not be taking place this year in the normal way.

Half way through February, I woke up to a knock on my flat door from a member of the accommodation team for my building asking if the roof was leaking. Being half asleep I said, “no it’s all fine in here”. Little did I know my ceiling was covered in damp patches and that I was going to have to move flats that day. After a long day of carrying everything and with a lot of help from my friends, I was settled down in my new room by late that evening.

On 29th February, I shaved my head to raise money for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital and also to donate the actual hair to The Little Princess Trust. This was something I had wanted to do for a really long time and decided to bite the bullet and put a date down and start raising money. Cutting all my hair off was a really scary experience but I felt an odd sense of relieve after it was gone. I had some of my friends come over and each cut a plait off of my head so that it could be sent off in the post to The Little Princess Trust. Here is a photo from the day we cut my hair and one of my newer headshot to show the aftermath.

At the beginning of March the percussion department’s recitals took place and this year I was asked by Dean Rogers to do the lighting for his recital after having learnt earlier in the year how to work the lighting desks in the Lab. This not only gave me a chance to put what I had learnt into practice but allowed me to watch a lot of the recitals as well. This actually inspired me to write one of my newest pieces Communication is Hard for solo marimba and tape.

Dean Rogers in rehearsals

On the 8th March the Conservatoire held a day long festival to celebrate International Women’s Day. I was part of the organisation team for this event and was able to take part in many of the activities that were happening throughout the day.

The last big event I was able to be part of before lockdown started and the Conservatoire closed was Bex Lycett’s major project Impasto. This was a concert premiering many new works by composers all inspired by synesthesia. For me this concert premiered two of my new pieces; Layers of Pages/Pages of Layers and Pressure.

After all this excitement at the beginning of March I was forced to move out of Birmingham and back to my family home in Suffolk because of the global pandemic. As a result of the lockdown situation being anncounced I moved the majority of my belongings back home at 4:30 in the morning so that I could be with my family for the rest of the academic year.

After coming home my focus went on to submissions and my upcoming deadlines. First I was working on a harmony exam paper and then my history essay. After those deadlines all of the classical music students in second year have to work on a devised exam piece. We were allowed to pick groups of three or four people and work on a piece that included each of our musical skills. Bellow is a link to the project that myself, Riadh and Gina worked on together. Our piece Sincerely is a multi-media piece using both audio and visual elements. It was composed around the idea of confrontation towards harassment in everyday life. Each of us performed in the piece but also gave our own ideas to contribute to the final outcome.

To finish off my second year at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire I had to submit both my creative and technical portfolios. Despite circumstances being very different to this time last year I was still very pleased with the projects and works that I had produced.

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