The differences between a Conservatoire of Music and a University + What it’s like to be in the final year!

Ay ay ay!

It’s that time of year again. Naturally everybody will be on high alert with stress levels running at an all time high. Taking a moment to take a step back and see this is quite daunting, how we let ourselves get into a state of mind. On the contrary, it’s rather stress relieving to be able to step back.

That’s why…

In the final 16 weeks I’ll spend, as well as planning to study around the world, I want to take some time out on a meditation course. Having used Headspace for 2 or 3 years now, and incorporating 30-60 mins everyday it’s really time to take the step up.

As a final year student, it’s vital to have a plan even if it’s not a ‘set-in-stone’ plan. You have a base from which you can work from. I began this style of organisation at the beginning of last summer, that allowed me to have all four of my exams in the New Year to be prepped to their maximum.

Two exams done, another one soon to be completed and I’ve felt only the stress required to help in my performance.

Nice.

Some time off too? I think I can fit that in…

Essentially not only does this style apply to students, it applies to everybody. If you can plan all deadlines in the space of 4 hours a week in less than a month for the next 3-6 months, you’re not only saving time but you also allow free time!

In a conservatoire of music you see the same people in and out. Due to the audition process, there is only a selected number each year so everybody is a familiar face. Naturally, in an intense, high level working environment, where learning pieces in a week, on the spot with forever changing irregular hours with the same people day in day out is normality.

In comparison, university is far from different. Generically speaking, not only are the hours less and consistent – you also are surrounded by over 10,000 students in a single block on flats. We only have an approximated 1000 in the whole of RWCMD!! The events are also very different, our SU is probably about the length of 30-36ft long and holds a regular quiz, live music and a few social clubs. On the upside, we have a plethora of gigs, drama productions we can choose from that are either free or discounted. To be honest, the more tame social scene is really nice.

However, you can’t beat a huge two level SU where the events are party crazy and so much fun! On top of that you have a huge range of socials to choose from and the bar is of course cheaper with so many students. As far as I know and have experienced, that’s all there is to say about that really!

And afterwards?

Well us musicians will either and most likely will freelance and teach. Or for those who don’t have that intention, other career options could be and Events Manager, Radio Producer, Music Therapy, Technician, composing for Film/TV etc etc etc. Some will deter from music in search for a more stable lifestyle i.e. regular income, working hours.

Post university? All I know is that most will look for a job, most will get a job (more likely if you’re on a Graduate Scheme) One this is for certain and something all students have in common….

We simply have no clue! 😀

Annnnd on that bombshell I’m outta here!

Thanks for reading guys and don’t forget to share 🙂

#BlogNo.19

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The National Waterfall Site – El Nicho
The differences between a Conservatoire of Music and a University + What it’s like to be in the final year!

A little note #2

Welcome back!

I am back again and in the full swing of things (quite literally)

I had a monstrous Christmas (in a good way, work prep and all) a jam packed NYE, then headed to Cuba to study for 2 weeks! I’ve had 1 week back at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, for the final 4 months!! Time flies bye and it’s amazing.

Batching all of the hard work from the summer until the end of the year, was well worth the stress and now I’m relishing in the practically less, if not non-stressful time I’ve had over the 10 days I’ve been back.

I’m glad I did! 

From now, I’ll be offering a more analytical blog style, on topics such as:

  • Musical styles and niches in music
  • The differences between a Conservatoire and University
  • Being a self-employed musician

+ other topics relating to Living The Life of a Musician

I’m looking forward to it and in preparation…

Next week I will be talking more in depth about my travels and what I learned and preparing and comparing what it is like to be in final year compared to a university.

Thanks for stopping by! Let’s get back into it! #MotivationSunday

Until next week!

#BlogNo. 17

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Last day of classes in Palmira, Cuba. We headed back to Havana for more classes, before leaving 😦

 

A little note #2

A little note…

It’s the night before NYE and it’s going to be epic. Who’s excited? I’ll be heading to Nottingham to see some of my favourite artists such as Bicep, Artwork and Redlight! What are you guys doing?! 

Apart from the final bash of 2017. As I wrote in my previous post, I will be heading out to Cuba next week so I’ll be back and raring to go in 3 weeks time!! Can’t wait to share it with you guys.

I’ve been working hard on my Afro-Cuban folkloric music amongst all of my other musical endeavours that’ll be happening in the New Year. Busy time but great times!

That’s all for today! I’ll leave you here with some of my favourite tunes, to get you running into 2018 with positivity, drive and passion to be the better version of yourself.

Bicep         Artwork       Redlight

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The workspace

“It’s only weird because society says it is” 

#BlogNo. 16

A little note…

What’s been going on?!

I’ve been away for a 2 weeks exactly and it certainly doesn’t feel like it! It’s really flown by and I unintentionally missed last weeks’ weekly Sunday Blog as I’ve been super busy (except the week where I took a Break)

So what have I been up to? 

Looks like I could only hack one week after college finished…and I was back in the ‘diff trialling a street performance version of Viktor Ullmans’ Opera – Der Kaiser von Atlantis with freelance Opera Director Polly Graham; check out some photos here.

Before all that happened I recorded pre-recorded loops for a piece I doing next year in my recital (I’ll allow a preview of what’s in store 😀  –>Leap)

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Recording pre-recorded loops

Back to the Opera – I’m not an Opera fanatic I’ll be honest, but when it’s quirky and contemporary, as well as it being intense…that’s my jam guys! Only 2.5 hours of essentially relearning a condensed Opera (originally 1.5 hours…this was 30 minutes!!!) This was so that people would stay to watch and also we had to travel from Penarth Pier to Grangetown Pavillion Winter Fare then Delikatesy Mis (Polish Café in Cardiff) It was thoroughly enjoyable and I hope for this project to develop further!

From then onwards I have been attending jam sessions in Bristol, playing and watching world class musicians in the local area to me, Frome! It’s amazing who is around you – go to some local gigs in your area, get talking and see who’s around. You never know if you’ll be watching somebody who plays in a famous group! 

Also, it’s been busy because I’ve been working hard. Mainly prepping my ideas for the New Year so I can deploy them at the most convenient time. For now I’m mostly practising, listening, researching and most of all. Learning. Investing in instruments (PSYCHED) and prepping for CUBA once again. I will be leaving very early in the New Year and will be away for 2 weeks, learning about Western Cuba/folkloric music and rumba! I can’t wait!

That’s all for today guys! Here is an album I recently listened to and fell in love with!

HAPPY LISTENING     MORE HAPPY LISTENING    LAST BIT OF VERY HAPPY LISTENING

Have a very Merry Christmas!

 

H

 

#BlogNo. 15

What’s been going on?!

Break

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The sumer gear collection…more latin gear has been added since 😀

The last week at the RWCMD came to a close on Friday! Now I’m back in my hometown of Bath and safe to say, my body has shut down. So I’m taking a break from playing for a little bit, so I can rejuvenate my mind and body.

Because of this, and also as a heads up, I may not be blogging next Sunday!

It’s important to take time off and I’m certainly one that can keep powering through no matter what, perhaps I’m stubborn but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t been.

Listen to your gut more and your mind less.

It’s harder to be aware of this during the day than you think. 

Next week I’m back in Cardiff for rehearsals at the Welsh Millennium Centre (WMC) in the Cardiff Bay. I bumped into the Operatic Director for an independent/contemporary Opera I did over a year ago and now I’m playing in her test run of her own company. Even though Opera isn’t my thing per se, but when there is room for creative direction then who knows where it could lead to! This is something I’m really excited about.

Over the next few weeks, as well as spending time with family and friends, I’ll be working hard on my own ideas and planning ahead for the next two and final terms at the Royal Welsh. Just so that I can really enjoy my time in Cuba and not think about missing two weeks of college! There will be lots of photos and experiences shared come early New Year!

That’s all for today guys! Take some time out for yourselves too!

Songs of the week

Here are two songs that I hope will set you up for the week no matter what you’re doing!

Some cheeky Bileo – You can Win – this is from the early 80s and it’s a massive soul song!

Roy Davis Jr ft Peven Everett – Gabriel (Live Garage Version) – the sound of human nature and original music is a beauty when you mix it with electronics

Rest Hard, Work Harder.

#BlogNo. 14

Break

P ure D edication N o D istraction

Hey one and all!

I hope you all have had a great week. Last week’s blog was about finding your path. So today I’m continuing this idea, but taking a little further with some underlying truths that we take for granted, and may stop us from progressing as much as we can!

It is simply the cost of distraction that can stop us. (That was quick!!) As you can see, it doesn’t take 1000 words to tell somebody this. For example, by simply changing the spacing of the title, forces the reader to focus on the words in order to be able to read it (and it kinda looks cool)

Awesome!

In order to reach your goals, ambitions, focus; you have to really understand what your motivation is firstly. WHY are you doing what you are doing?! HOW can you CHANGE the tiniest part of your work ethic to enhance your performance?!

You yourself can only help. Nobody else can analyse the WHY and HOW of your work (I’m not shouting fyi – I’m merely stating key words that have been based on my previous blogs –> CHECK IT OUT + AND THIS + and FINALLY)

You may ask, ‘what are the simple things’?! Well, it all depends on what technology you use, your work environment and most importantly being realistic about how you are really focused. For me, it’s turning my phone on Airplane Mode, only having the essential notifications from my apps, only subscribing to emails that I actually read etc. See how you work and see what you can change, even if you think you’re on top form already 😉

It could be having a clean/spacious work space, music that helps you to focus, or simply setting a fixed time to get as much done of your project as possible! 

Not only is technology a factor, but also how much you work you set yourself, and whether you have a reason behind your work i.e. what we call motivation, I like to call it PURPOSE. 

What I do, is I get everything that’s in my head, put it into a day’s work of practise and prioritise them from highest to lowest. What I don’t get done, is carried on into the next day, I simply reprioritise them. If there is a particular aspect I’m not focused on, I ask myself why I wrote it down and usually, it’s something that motivates me to go and do it, to go through the motions, work the logistics out, and continue it with full focus the next day.

If I’m not sure why I wrote something down, I’ll research it or ask myself whether it’s useful to do it at that moment in time.

In short, if you simply boil your down, you can see it clearly and have a flowing work schedule. Also, you can see where, why and how you’re perhaps not getting as much as you would like (think distractions and motivation)

TIP: Boil what seems complex down so anybody could understand it, simplify it to it’s raw ingredients. 

If the fundamentals are at there best, then you can really explore your passion.

That’s all for today guys. Remind yourself at least once a day, why you are motivated to do what you do. PURPOSE.

Bring yourselves back to reality this week guys.

Music of the week

Today, I feel in the mood for Brazilian. This is style of Brazilian music called Capoeira. This song is called Parana ê Parana

Love to one and all!

H

#BlogNo. 12

 

 

P ure D edication N o D istraction

For Time To Come

Hey one and all!

A lot of my posts are mostly motivational or how I am feeling about what has happened in the week prior. Reflection is great, not only we can learn from our mistakes, but we can learn from what we did well.

A lot of musicians, tend to not think of themselves as a business. It takes a lot of time and dedication to get to where you want to be, no matter how many steps you will want to, and have to take.

I always have a practise diary. Every evening and every Sunday, I plan ahead of what I will want to achieve in the week ahead and the month. This way, you’re consistently reflecting and adapting to unforeseen challenges. I find this method I worked out, helps to build a stronger base for the larger picture. That being, building connections in an already familiar environment, to begin establishing who you are and what you can offer. Then, where you base yourself is mostly dependent on where the work is.

When it comes to monthly or yearly planning, it can be hard to tell how much of what you plan will come to effect. It’s a good idea, I think, to take advantage of all the opportunities on offer, with the long term purpose in mind. For me personally, I go to Jazz Jam sessions, with the purpose of improving my ear and playing, but also to expand my relations with new and existing connections. Existing connections, I’d say, are vital because it takes time to build strong relationships with people.

I go by this formulae

Plan

Expand

Apply 

Base

Let me explain ;

  1. Plan/Replan – This is essentially writing down what your ideas, goals and dreams and prioritising them in order of short to long term achievements. (I’ll get to replan in a minute)
  2. Expand – This is looking at each goal and expanding it to the opportunities that are available to you. The opportunities available is not only what is easily accessible, but they are also events that are in the present and future that may arise. You have to be on alert for this one, in order to make the most of anything. 
  3. Apply – #JustDoIt and be proactive. You will have to get out there, show up, make yourself known.
  4. Base – You must be aware when you are beginning to develop a base, from where you can start to replan. This means, when you have got a platform to work from i.e. regular income, base of connections, where you are based geographically, social profile etc. Then you can begin the process again. A never ending work frame.

It doesn’t matter how small the base is, as long as there is something to work from, you can start to replan and the replan could be very small e.g. Making a connection, in person and online, going to an event where the connection is and promoting yourself whilst learning and developing your skills on a practical level.

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THE NEXT STEP – I will be performing a piece that requires a loop pedal (see image) in May 2018. It’s time to get practical and explore electronics.

That’s all guys!

Thanks for taking some time out to read my Blog!

Albums of the week

Donny Mcaslin – Fast Future (Full Album) 2015 – Contemporary Jazz! Explore the personnel on this album!

Irakere (Cuba, 1979) – Live (Full Album) – Recognised as one of the first groups to establish Timba! This a Cuban dance and has influnces of Salsa, American funk/RnB and strong Afro-Cuban Folkloric music. Here is a taste of Salsa and Afro-Cuban Folkloric music – listen carefully and hear the similarities!

Thanks again everyone! 

#BlogNo. 10

For Time To Come