Monday, 22 June 2015

Charlotte New Music Festival, USA: Day 7 (Day off - well... sort of....)

British ingenuity at it's finest (making the most out of beer)
Sunday - a day of rest.... well, for the most part
- Today at CNMF we were given the day off, as in, we had no presentations, concerts, rehearsals or lessons to attend. However, we had deadlines..... Speedwriting.....

So for those of you that don't know, I'm sure you can guess that a speedwriting assignment is exactly that, writing something quickly. We were given our assignments on Monday, and we had until 6am the following Monday to hand it in - scores, parts, everything ready to go so the players can rehearse if for the concert on Friday. We've had a week, which is a short but good amount of time to get things done.... can't say everyone's used the time wisely though! It's the nature of the beast: you need to write quickly, but you need the inspiration! However, in the panic, a group of us came up with a few simple (and very tongue-in-cheek) rules to help any of you out there who fancy the challenge:

  1. Screw Six Pitches - you don't need to use all twelve tones, six is more than enough (and definitely don't start messing around with microtones)
  2. Titles: Keep it funny, it'll bring you money
  3. Get a superball mallet: You can make some cool sounds with it, either in your piece or just for your own amusement!
  4. Crotchet (1/4 note) = 60, maximum speed! - Anything to help you space out the bars
  5. If it's worth saying once it's worth saying at least 20 times
  6. Who has time for articulations/dynamics? Just tell your performers to figure it out for themselves, dammit!
  7. There's no such thing as hungry when you're speedwriting
  8. All kidding aside, don't mess around with form - you haven't got time to be messing with that!

It has been a pretty fun day - the QUC common room became a hub for speedwriting and general banter, and I think we were all pretty appreciative that the canteen was open serving lunch AND dinner today - it made getting things done a lot easier knowing that food was readily available.

I (thankfully) finished my speedwriting assignment late afternoon, and so I got myself down to Petra's Piano Bar and Cabaret for the Jazz Jam Night and Workshop, and boy am I glad I did! Firstly, the musicians playing were absolutely amazing, serious skills and such nice people. Secondly, I (and Andrew, another composer from the workshop) got to get up on stage with them an perform a couple of tunes. I got to perform my bossa rendition of 'Smile' by Charlie Chaplin, and my own interpretation of 'Fever' by Peggy Lee. I have to give a big shout out to John M. Shaughnessy for organising this event, and to Phillip Howe for his insane piano playing. So very, very happy I got the opportunity to perform with such high caliber musicians.

So, a quieter day, but still an eventful one - a good chance to rest up for the week ahead, I have a feeling it's about to get a little crazy....

Peforming Jazz at Petra's Piano Bar and Cabaret - So happy right now!

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