Category Archives: New Ideas

Scottish Schools Orchestra Trust

The Scottish Schools Orchestra Trust is organising a Play Away Day on Sunday 20 Feb 2011, in St. Georges School, Edinburgh (map here) from 10:00 – 16:00. For the first time, this will include a Guitar Ensemble, conducted by Phillip Thorne.

For the most part, pupils will be directed to this by their instructors but, if you are interested and would like to find out more, please download this flyer/application form: SCcOT Flyer/Application Form

East Lothian Youth Music Forum – Design Competition

A chance for musical and artistic pupils to shine….

The East Lothian Youth Music Forum is about to be rebranded. Part of this process involves a new name and logo. Young people (under 25) are invited to submit designs with a chance of winning £100 of Amazon vouchers. A recent press release contained the essential information:

Due to the amount of interest from young people, the deadline had been extended from Friday 3
December to Friday 10 December. The competition is open to anyone aged under 25. Entries should
be sent to Iain Bruce, Brunton Theatre, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh, East Lothian, EH21 6AA. Email:
ibruce@eastlothian.gov.uk. Entrants should make sure to include their contact details.

So, if you can think of a name and design a logo then why not get invovled?

You could email Iain Bruce (details above) for more info – or ask me and I’ll try to find out what I don’t know.

Good luck!

Sato No Aki

A friend (Marek Pasieczny) put up this video on Facebook this evening – his fantastic performance of a recent and captivating composition. I’ve found myself playing it several times through the evening. Perhaps you’ll like it (especially the passage of harmonics at 4:06):

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/6WcYYWDYir8?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Pathways to Music

Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative and Young Scot have teamed up to consult with young people across Scotland, aged 16 to 26, to find out what it is they really want and need to know to help them engage with the music industry in Scotland.

If you fit into this age bracket, then completing this survey could result in winning £50 of iTunes vouchers.

Instrumental Instruction

Most people studying an instrument seriously at some point look into the evolution of their instrument: physics; ergonomics; manufacturing; technological innovation, national differences etc. Strangely, I’ve never once considered the origins, adaptations and alternatives to an instrument that millions of us use on a daily basis – the QWERTY keyboard.
Stephen Fry looks into the history here (2 days left to listen).
Here is an example of one of many rival systems featured in the programme. Interestingly, the notion of rhythm comes up, when a user of the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard takes down some dictation.

In The Frame

When does a lesson become a sound check? When many variables have to be investigated. David –  now starting S6 at Knox – is to receive the Higher Music prize next week, in addition to the Michael Godek Memorial Guitar Prize. He is also to perform the Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 BWV 1007 – one of my favourite pieces.

To avoid feedback problems, in what needs to be an amplified situation, he has been kindly lent a Yamaha Frame Guitar by my friend and colleauge, Chris Day. So, David & I went to down to the school hall for his first shot of the guitar and to take note of the best guitar and amp settings.
Game as ever, David agreed to be recorded on this first shot and for me to post the recording.
To help you see some of the moves required in this piece, here is my friend Per-Olov Kindgren:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/-F1tgImEymU?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
and to let you hear the Prelude as originally intended by Bach here is Mstislav Rostropovich:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/LU_QR_FTt3E?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

World Cup Anthems

I was delighted to receive, from friend and colleague, Gordon Wood, the anthems for all 32 World Cup teams. In addition to the notation for each tune, there is a short history of the tune and, in some cases, lyrics. Not only a labour of love, but a rich task. Generously, Gordon encouraged me to pass them on to as many people as would find them useful.

Here they are:

Algeria   Argentina   Australia   Brasil   Cameroon   Chile   Cote d’Ivoire   Denmark   England   France   Germany   Ghana   Greece   Honduras   Italy   Japan   Korea   Mexico   Netherlands   New Zealand   Nigeria   North Korea   Paraguay   Portugal   Serbia   Slovakia   Slovenia   South Africa   Spain   Switzerland   Uruguay   USA   Wavin Flag   Wavin’ Flag Lyrics

In order that these can be accessed by as many people as possible, I’ve converted them to pdf format. These are mostly in keys suitable for military band. If you would like the original Sibelius files, so that you can transpose to suit particular instruments, just post a comment and I’ll email them to you.

Top Of The Pops for Haiti

Last night I attended an astonishing event in Haddington’s Corn Exchange organised by Mike Cullen and a host of talented and generous friends  in aid of the victims of Haiti’s earthquake. I’m sure Mike won’t mind my mentioning here that the amount raised is already over £5,000 and rising. Perhaps Mike could let us know the final figure and the names of all those involved in putting on such an excellent night.

The Corn Exchange was transformed into a TOTP studio:

corn-exchange-reduced

The quality of the bands was outstanding – including State Freed, featuring some Knox lads:

davids-band-1-reduced

The audience were invited to dress up and many really pushed the boat out. I was keen to do my bit with this barely noticeable tweak to standard school dress code:

alans-costume-reduced1

All 500 tickets were sold and the atmosphere was fantastic. I found this quite a moving event – not least because I had the chance to catch up with some old friends – including school friends. The dynamic between music, geography and emotion is a strange one. I lived in Haddington until I moved away to study in 1979 – quite a while ago. Yet last night, I’d never felt more part of, nor proud of, the place.

Well done to everyone involved!