Category Archives: Additional Pages

Candid Camera

I remember with some fondness my old Amstrad PCW and how it obliquely encouraged me to generate a huge body of work in few episodes. This was due to having to load the operating system from a floppy disc and then each individual programme – the loading of one necessitating the disappearance of the last. So, once set up, the temptation was to bash on.

Such was the feeling yesterday when I had hoped to make a start on recording videos of ensemble parts for this year’s Showcase Concert repertoire. I thought I’d do two or three, call it a day and set aside some time later. However, once the camera was set up, and the school nearly empty, I found myself repeatedly saying “just one more” and pretty soon all 14 were finished. It was my ambition to do each one in “one take” and I stopped only three times – once when the phone rang and twice when the weekly fire bell test took place. Miraculously, all three events conspired to take place in the closing bars of largely error-free takes – thanks guys!

The funny thing was the set up. I asked a 6th year pupil to line up the Flip Video so that the frame would be pretty much filled with the fretboad – since fingering and articulation were the main points of interest. Somehow, I imagined that my head would be out of shot, but this was not true – and I didn’t ask. Consequently, the videos have the nature of someone being filmed unawares. I have to confess that I look quite bored throughout the process, but nothing could be further from the truth – it’s simply a mix of concentration and the paradoxical endeavour to remain relaxed under pressure, in order to avoid re-takes. I must remember this the next time I suspect a pupil of less than 100% engagement. Techies might notice that the music is (sometimes) being read, in Sibelius, from a laptop screen, which refreshes only at the very end of a page/section. This doesn’t really add to the chances of a relaxed performance as you can’t look ahead – but what’s life without a little challenge now and again 🙂

The films, which are all embedded in a new Video page, are pretty much a temporary affair – hence the lack of subtle editing. The East Lothian Showcase Concert, in which these pieces are to be performed, takes place in The Brunton Hall on Friday 27th Mar at 7:30. After that date there will be little use for the videos – unless any other similar ensemble would like to play the arrangements.

An embarrassment of riches

Now that YouTube is unblocked in our schools, I decided to have a look for footage which might support pupils in their understanding and enjoyment of music. Before long it became clear that there was a wealth of invaluable resources. But how are these to be passed on? By word of mouth, simply when we happen to recall something interesting? In the (temporary?) absence of another source I’ve created a new page entitled YouTube links – general (as opposed to the guitar-based one). The form and categorisations may well change when more useful links crop up.


Corrections have been made to the midi files of Scottish Medley on the Guitar Group Midis page. Congratulations to Danielle of MGS for noticing that the repeats were missing – and apologies for not believing her when she first mentioned it last week! I’m assuming that it was a kind attempt to spare my blushes that prevented anyone else from mentioning this (or noticing it) as the files had been up for 16 days. It surely couldn’t have been that nobody else had tried them, could it? 🙂