George and I had a wonderful time in North Devon. It was great to be back on the road and discovering new places through music-making.
The concerts took place in Barnstaple and Great Torrington. They were organised by Young Musicians Support, a charitable organisation that aim to create opportunities for young professional musicians, provide high-quality classical music concerts to their local community, and inspire and educate local children of the joys of music. It was a delight to be part of this spirit, and we gave the concerts and workshops our all. I wish I could have shared this experience live with my blog friends, as it felt exhilarating to share the stage with George again. We are both keen speakers, and like to create a sense of conversation by regularly speaking to the audience during a recital. It makes me feel connected, calms my nerves, whilst inviting them to come on a journey with us, where we can explain the links between pieces and show how we think they flow as a collective.
We carried this conversational style into our educational performances. On Wednesday morning we gave two 40 minute lecture recitals to two year 7 groups, (age 11-12). We covered a variety of topics and shared facts about ourselves, opera, song and classical piano works. I particularly enjoyed explaining to them what a Conservatoire was. (A conservatoire is an institute for higher education, similar to a university, that specialises in performing arts). When I was their age, I had no idea that they existed and I didn’t realise what a positive impact the years of training at one would have on my personal progression. We found out from the high schools music teacher, that the year group had been learning some songs, so we concluded our sessions by getting them to do a little bit of singing. It was thrilling to see them excited about singing, and in the second group we even got ten volunteers to perform as an ensemble for the rest of the group. I was so impressed by their confidence and boldness.
We then delivered a 90 minute masterclass with the year 10 and 11 students, who had opted to take Music as a GCSE. This collective really reminded me of my cross-genre cohort at Knutsford High School. There were multiple bands, singers and the occasional brass and wind player. George and I focused on performance techniques, such as entering the stage. It may seem very simple and a minor detail, but how you walk onto the stage is vital. We discussed posture, presence, eye contact, walking pace, order of entrances, and stage positioning. All these details help you to connect with your fellow team mates, put your audience at ease and create an atmosphere that you are able to control and shape to give your performance the best chances of being succeeding.
I would like to thank Karen and Chris for being such wonderful hosts and for introducing us to Diana, a fellow musician, who kindly let George practise on her wonderful piano. I would also like to thank Michael from YMS and Simon from Great Torrington School, it was a real pleasure to work with the students.
As we were away from home and able to enjoy the beautiful countryside of North Devon, here are our three top recommendations from our time away:
If you in search for beautiful sandy shores, take a visit to Instow beach. Once there take in the the picturesque views whilst eating scrumptious food at The Boathouse, Beach Bar and Restaurant. The fresh sea food was delectable and their quirky twist on nautical interior design featured Romanian-made sardines in a tin wallpaper, whats not to love.
If you are like me, and can’t resist a bakery. I highly suggest taking a visit to Sandford’s Bakery in Great Torrington. A family business spanning three generations. You can really taste their passion for baking in their delicious selection. My personal favourite was their take on the sausage roll and custard doughnut.
If you are looking for a cosy place to rest your head, whilst on your weekend getaway, perhaps book a night at The Teapot Cottage in Great Torrington. It has a great location in the centre of a friendly and welcoming town. We stayed there the evening after our concert and felt refreshed and well-rested the next day.
Although BambinO is an abstract story, there are moments that may help you to enjoy the story-telling. To give you a helping hand, here is a visual synopsis.
BambinO at Home is getting closer, the performances are to be streamed live between the 9th and 11th December and tickets are available here.
BambinO follows a bird – Uccellina – who is hoping to start a family. After creating her nest, Uccellina is marvelled to discover an egg. The Egg hatches, revealing a baby bird – Pulcino – who takes Uccellina for his mother. Pulcino explores the world through sound and action. Uccellina is initially overjoyed at Pulcino’s explorative nature and only passingly annoyed at his hyper-active behaviour! The pair reconcile quickly, elated to have found each other. Pulcino realises that he must learn to take flight and make his way in the world. Although saddened at the thought of being separated, Uccellina and Pulcino are soon caught up in the excitement of his first flight and together find the perfect place to launch.