Grace Notes: Looking back to February…

In February, I performed with my brother in a concert at St Peter’s College Oxford. Two months on, I wanted to look back and reflect on a few points.

I really enjoyed the concert and by the time I had played my first couple of pieces, I had managed to get control of my nerves and actually enjoy performing. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to take this feeling onwards and use it to help through future performances, including my final recital in May.

I’ve also learnt some important things about marketing from looking at my audience surveys. The majority of people who came to the concert were friends and family, but about a third of the audience heard about the event through Facebook, and most of them were students. Therefore, if I were ever to market an event again, I’d push the Facebook campaign, but also push flyers and posters in non-student communities, hopefully drawing in a wider range of ages to the concert.

I also discovered that although the venue was lovely and I’m hoping I can play there again, the only thing that was an issue was due to the fact I live in London, having to travel to Oxford for every rehearsal was a little tricky as it took out a whole day. However, in the future there isn’t much I’ll be able to do about this so I think I will have to just plan my days better, ensuring I get as much done as I can in the time I have.

Here are some clips from the concert. I am particularly pleased with the Bach, but here are some bits of all of the pieces.

Overall I am really proud of what I achieved, both in a performance and organisational way. And thank you again to everyone who came to watch and supported Sam and me.

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Grace Notes: What did the audience think?

A few days ago I did my concert in Oxford that I’ve mentioned in a number of previous posts. Inside each of the programs I included a survey for the audience.

I chose the questions so that, if I were to do another concert again, I’d know who to target my marketing at what mediums to use for promotion.

Here is an example of the survey I used.

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At the end of the concert I got a survey back from almost all of the audience members. I’m looking forward to collating the results, seeing what people thought and how far my last attempt at promoting reached.

Grace Notes: Oxford concert

On February 6th, the concert I’ve been constantly blogging about finally happened! I set off early and got a coach to Oxford so I was in the city centre by about 10am.

I met my brother Sam and we made our way to the Music Faculty to rehearse. We first had an hour on our own to work out any final kinks in the Bach Oboe and Violin Concerto. Then we both met with our accompanists and had a chance to rehearse. Barney and I worked particularly hard on getting emotion into the pieces and making sure all of the rubato was perfectly in sync.

In the late afternoon Sam and I headed over to St Peters Chapel to rehearse with the orchestra. This was very exciting for me as I hadn’t had the chance to do this and I was excited to meet all the musicians. The rehearsal went well and made me really look forward to doing concert!

After meeting our parents and a few of our friends for a quick dinner, we went back to the Chapel to get dressed and set up for the audience.

Overall the concert went well. Sam started with the Saint-Saens oboe sonata and played beautifully. I was very nervous for my first two pieces, but by the time I got to my third (Nigun by Bloch) I managed to calm myself down, settle into it and enjoy myself. The double concerto went well and Sam and I managed to play well together.

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The Bach Oboe and Violin concerto

Afterwards we got really good feedback from the audience, which is always nice to hear. Overall I did enjoy the concert and I think I’ve taken a huge step forward in terms of performance anxiety. Hopefully this concert will lead to more opportunities to play concerts in St Peter’s sue to the connection made through this performance.

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My family and I after the concert. We were all very pleased and a little relieved!

The best part about this concert is that we managed to raise £150 for the National Youth Orchestra of Wales through everyone’s kind donations. Thank you so much to everyone who played!

Grace Notes: Less than a week to go!

In 5 days my brother Sam and I will be performing in St Peters Chapel, Oxford at 7.30pm. There have been a few stressful moments in the planning process, but I think everything is now coming together.

Oxford Poster

I had a violin lesson today and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I didn’t want to do anything too radical on the pieces I’m playing on Saturday, as I’ve had some bad past experiences of teachers changing things on the day of the concert and resulting in me mistakes due to the unfamiliar new fingering or bowing. In the end we just worked on technique (arm weight) which was actually really helpful and I’m excited to start working on it after the concert.

Both Sam and I have been busy practicing and promoting. We’ve been sharing our event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and are hoping we can draw in a few more audience members through social media.

If you happen to be in the area, would be amazing to see you there!

Grace Notes: Flyering and Rehearsals

Yesterday I spent the day in Oxford to do some preparation for mine and my brother’s concert on February 6th. I set off early from London and arrived in Oxford around 10.30am. I met my brother at the bus station and we spent the morning putting up posters and dropping off flyers to some of his friends for them to put up in their collages. It also gave me a chance to see lots of the different colleges and get a feel for the place.

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After lunch, we had then planned a rehearsal with the pianist and then a rehearsal of the double concerto after. However, Sam was ill and so I just had a rehearsal with the pianist. To make it more complicated, I had to change my program last minute, so the rehearsal was a little difficult. I hadn’t had a proper chance to refresh the new pieces, and the pianist was sight reading. However, we concentrated on musicality and I was really pleased with the outcome.

Everything is now starting to come together, and I now am looking forward to the concert. I’ve created an event on Facebook, so if you happen to be in the area on the day, then please come along!

Grace Notes: Concert News!

I mentioned in my first post of the year that my brother and I are putting on a concert in Oxford. We’ve been planning this for a while, but things are finally starting to slot into place.

The concert is on Saturday February 6th, at 7.30 in St Peter’s College Chapel. We’ll be playing a selection of music by composers including Bach, Bartok and Saint-Saens. The piece we’re most excited about playing is the Violin and Oboe Double Concerto by Bach.

Today I spent the day printing out posters and flyers and I’m heading up to Oxford tomorrow to hand them out and display them. Sam (my brother) and I are also going to have a chance to rehearse together and with the pianist which will be great! I’m really excited to hear how everything sounds.

Oxford Poster

Please feel free to share this poster with anyone who may be interested!

The concert is completely free (with optional donations towards the national Youth Orchestra of Wales) and please come along if you are in the vicinity and fancy a lovely hour of music!

Grace Notes: Welcome to 2016!

Hello, and welcome to 2016! I can’t believe how fast 2015 went and how much happened! I played my last concerts with both my county youth orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, I began the final year of my degree, saw the last Middle Earth film, a new Welsh dinosaur was discovered and I fell in love with Budapest while on holiday there.

I’m going to try and get back into posting on here more frequently. I feel like the last term got away from me a little! I have lots going on now too, but hopefully lots to write about as well. Next week I have my orchestral excerpt exam, and after that a number of projects (both in and out of Trinity Laban) and concerts. One of the most exciting things is happening on February 6th. My brother and I are putting on a concert in St Peter’s College Chapel in Oxford, featuring the Bach violin and oboe double concerto. I’ll be posting more information about it soon, along with talking about some of the music I listened to, and got given over the Christmas period (at least that’s the plan!).