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.

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: 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: NYOW 2015 – One down…

Last night we had our first concert in the space we’ve been rehearsing in all week in Lampeter. Everyone was a little on edge and excited as it was our first one, so it wasn’t perfect, but the energy felt great! We’re currently travelling to Bangor for our next one this evening and I’m really excited as I haven’t been to this hall since my first year in 2009.

I feel the whole programme has really come together since Paul Daniel arrived to conduct on Friday. The pieces now make a lot more sense to me and I’m starting to feel like I’m able to get my teeth into them, rather than skating around, trying to play some of the right notes in the right place… I have grown to really enjoy playing Rite of Spring (I have to admit that I wasn’t 100% keen on it when I had my first listen) and I think it’s my favourite piece in the programme (and one of my favourites I’ve ever played on the NYOW)!

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The first rehearsl with Paul Daniel (I do not own this image)

After playing in Bangor this evening, we’re heading to Aberystwyth tomorrow to listen to the composers concert, before on to Hereford on Thursday. I’m really looking forward to this concert as it’ll nice to be be back playing at the Three Choirs festival there.

Grace Notes: NYOW 2015 – The first day

So, we have had one full day of the course. It started with registration, where we get given the essential information and then we split off into our welfare groups (who we meet with every morning to discuss the upcoming days events and if there are any problems, it’s a chance to voice them) for a few more pointers on what to expect.

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The boot of the car packed with all our stuff for the tour! Can't believe this is the last time I'll make the journey to Lampeter!

After that, we headed off to our first sctional rehearsal. I’m in the first violins who are tutored by Adrian Dunn. We mainly worked on some of the trickier passages and working out all the different time signatures and beats so that we could survive in the full orchestra rehearsal later!

The evening session was with everybody. We played through two of the three pieces (the Schmitt and the Stravinsky Rite of Spring. Both are very rhythmic in places and I found that playing on all the right off-beats far more challenging than the actual notes!!

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My view of the orchestra during a full rehearsal.

In the evenings there are various activities involved (such as fancy dress mentioned here) and the event tonight was a few small ice breakers within our welfare groups. It gave us a chance to meet new members, and once they were over we were able to relax and have a catch up with (or get to know) the other members of the orchestra.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck into rehearsals today! Hopefully I’ll be able to get me head around a few more of the complicated rhythms….