News

And breathe….

I am convinced that stage fright, or performance anxiety, is not a mysterious beast whom we have to conquer or slay, but rather a lack of embodied presence. Just as we acknowledge the fundamental importance of working on scales, an alert, easy awareness in the moment is something that can be practiced both mentally and physically, and that practice can,…

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When only leather will do…

Violinist Emma Alter’s leather mutes are in great demand all over the world, but what made her start making them? ‘I began making mutes by chance, a colleague asked me to make some lead ones for a project with Gabrieli Consort and Players, playing Haydn’s Creation. That was followed by a request for leather ones, which led to my current…

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Why do highly skilled people doubt they’re good enough? The Dunning-Kruger Effect

How many people do you know who are highly skilled at what they do, yet doubt their ability? Contrast this with the hyper confident performers who audition for the X Factor, or appear on The Apprentice, who aren’t necessarily noted for displaying high levels of skill and you have a rather confusing situation. This is what’s known as the Dunning-Kruger…

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A more equal music

Anyone who works with young musicians on their journey through youth chamber music will be familiar with the sight of some children busting a gut to manage their challenging part in a piece while another is sitting there bored, clock watching and waiting for something more interesting to come along for them to play. Liz Partridge, professional violinist and Trinity…

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Everything but the kitchen sink

A couple of years ago my 8 year old son Alfie discovered The Brass Academy, a residential course for brass players from 8-18 of all capabilities. To say he had fun would be an understatement! He revelled in the music making with inspirational tutors drawn from the top tier of the UK’s brass world, and loved all the sport and…

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Raising your game

Nigel Kennedy annoyed many music teachers annoyed last month by suggesting in The Guardian that they were teaching a standard formula, stifling creativity and producing factory lines of musicians. Now whether you agree with him or not, no teacher wants this for their students but it can be hard to make sure you’re always steering them on the right path….

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Fish and mice for the perfect posture

‘The first 10 years sounded the worst’ my Mum says when asked about her daughters’ journeys learning the violin. It’s a well known fact that string instruments are hard work when you start learning them and the sound they produce, especially small instruments, can be anything from frustrating to borderline excruciating. Thankfully there are many people out there who understand…

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Lead the way…

Violinist Millie Ashton wowed audiences around the UK this year as the leader of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Taking the cream of the UK’s youth musical talent, the National Youth Orchestra invites young musicians up to the age of 18 meet 3 times a year in the school holidays for residential courses culminating in concerts in the…

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Classy pop ups on an intimate scale

Wouldn’t it be great if the finest musicians appeared, as if from nowhere in your local coffee shop and played you a little bite sized concert just for the hell of it?… Well, dream no more. Sali-Wyn Ryan of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and part-time music producer at Classic FM radio station has galvanised her top musical friends to ‘pop…

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Ace your next audition

First published for Encore Music 15/7/16 I still remember the terrifying moment when I graduated – having looked forward  to it for 4 years during my study at the Royal Academy of Music, I realised that now it was make or break time. Was I good enough at the violin? Could I keep up with the pros who had been…

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