Tag Archives: mp3s

Signing Off

The last mp3s finally in place, it’s time to hang up the blogging spurs for the summer. I hate to sound like a Kafkaesque bureaucrat while colleagues’ toes are warmed by European sands, but I couldn’t help noticing something interesting in the stats. Had I been asked at the start of the year to predict which pupils would have clocked up the most recordings, with the least fuss, my predictions might have been well out. And that’s because the under-rated quality of quiet persistence tends to be overlooked in the day-to-day – yet it gets the job done. Wasn’t it Thomas Edison who described genius as “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration?”

Thanks to everyone who has looked in and commented over course of the year and also to those whose blogs have inspired, interested and entertained.

 Have a great summer.


Sadly, an able pupil is moving away to another part of the UK. I was asked for a reference in order that, once there, full musical entitlement might continue. Happy to oblige, I wrote a short history of achievement and was keen to point out that a detailed musical portrait of the pupil already existed in the form of mp3 recordings of:

• solo performing
• participation in the school Guitar Group
• participation in the East Lothian Guitar Ensemble

I contacted the school concerned and arranged to send the reference electronically. The hyperlinks have been passed onto the Music Department.

I hadn’t really considered this aspect of evidence before. The benefits of such a learning space for the stationary pupil, parents and staff seem obvious. For a pupil changing schools, a portrait seems better a better way to convey information than a descritpion – and a self-portrait better still.

And it’s a wrap!

I was asked recently about the benefits for pupils of being recorded – and those recordings being posted on this blog. Normally the answers would be fairly straightforward:it allows people who don’t normally access our lessons a chance to hear them play – peers, family, distant relatives, class teachers, management, the general public etc.

  • it provides a deadline by which pupils are meant to have arrived at a polished performance
  • it allows more performance opportunities than the normal diet of concerts could allow
  • it provides a record of work

However, as this question followed hot on the heels of a recording session, some benefits of the recording session itself (as opposed to the broadcast) sprang to mind:

  • the pressure of being recorded promotes a focus and concentration not easily summoned up in weekly lesson
  • although the option of a second take exists (unlike concerts) nobody really wants to do this and the red light always feels special
  • the moment of truth allows pupils to experience the difference between thinking a performance was ready and realising that, under pressure, it is not quite as ready as it seemed – this all happens in a friendly atmosphere and no recordings are posted without the agreement of all concerned – pupils are invited to suggest a date when a replacement recording might be made
  • when a pupil in a group lesson is recording a solo, the others learn that part of teamwork sometimes means simply taking a back seat