A stage is like an open invitation to a musician. Just seeing a big stage makes me want to get up and make music. It’s a feeling that courses through me like lava.
I was asked to speak at the Talis Insight conference, May 1-2, at the Birmingham REP, and they specifically asked if I could integrate performance into my talk. Yes yes yes! FAB! I am sure I can meaningfully integrate performance into a talk on how I use an e-learning tool (that allows teachers to integrate and link through to various sorts of resources). I knew it could be done- I use the tech and teach about performance, so that’s easy, but I didn’t want to talk and then play Bach on my cello, as that just didn’t feel right. So I brought a couple of students and we became a live case-study/demo.
Something I have learned over the years is everything is more fun when students are involved – and I have some fab students on the MA Performance course at Chichester. Fortunately for me they all use this tech tool too and they were happy to take on this project with me.
Here’s what we did after our talk and before the Q&A:
I always learn so much from and with my students. What did we learn? Oh, we learned our individual strengths and weaknesses, interpersonal dealings, how to navigate support and freedom musically within this trio, logistics… (!) We had to transport everything, make sure we were self-sufficient in terms of sound equipment, and navigate the tech side as well as perform – so that’s loading, set-up, sound check, on – off stage, tear down, & transportation. -and the skills of talking and then performing.
Was the performance just an add-on to the talk? No. My co-presenter/performers had just done this very thing for their assessment (each their own topic) as part of their MA. Performers today need to interface with the audience and this was definitely a worthwhile experience in so many ways.
I’d like to think I will always be learning (and improving!) – For me neither music nor life is the kind of thing where you get to a certain level and then ‘if the shoe fits’ you wear it because you’re done. Life is constant growth and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have such a wonderful environment – both people and place – to continue to challenge myself to learn and grow.
A big thank you to Dave and Luke for working with me and to Talis for inviting us. If you’re interested in hearing the full talk you can see it here. We had so much fun!