Monthly Archives: February 2012

Reporting from the rehearsal room…

Well, not really. That wouldn’t be the most productive rehearsal approach. No, in fact, we played last night and I decided to write it up as a way to get this blog going – I thought it might be nice to blog about getting the Quadraceratops project together and post some bits and pieces up here as we go along.

Small, but perfectly formed?I’ve been quite the writing hermit recently, spending all my available time at the piano or my new tiny desk (acquired recently to create a second mini work area in our flat). The process (not over yet by any means) has been pretty interesting. I’m learning about how I work best, trying different methods and also, critically, discovering how long it typically takes me to complete a tune. This isn’t something that I would usually concentrate on, because it tends to ‘take as long as it takes’ for me to write a piece of music, but working to a deadline has obviously changed that. I’ve had to set myself targets (argh!) to be completed by certain times (e.g last night’s rehearsal), and then go nuts to try and meet them – in the process learning whether they were realistic in the first place. I’ve been finding that it’s very easy to overestimate the amount I can comfortably get done in a set time period, but that I can also get quite a lot done in a scramble right before the deadline.

Dining room becomes writing room...One perfect example of this happened a week or so ago, when I went away for a mini writing retreat, taking advantage of my family’s house which was going to be empty during the day time for a run of days in a row. I pitched up and built myself an awesome temporary writing room/studio and planned to get a massive amount of music produced in the relatively short window of time available. Did I manage it? Of course not. I wrote about 50% of what I wanted to. However, I was really pleased with the results and it was evident that a change of environment and some enforced isolation had been a big bonus. I came back to London feeling a combination of pleased and disappointed, totally on track and massively behind. It seems like the only possible thing to do is to set deadlines, allocate as much time as possible, and then just see what happens. Right now, I can’t accurately estimate how much music I can produce in how much time.

Anyway, all of which meta-musical/methodological analysis meant that I was pretty excited about getting into a rehearsal room and actually playing! We were down a few members, but it was still great to hear some of the music played by real people. Plus, we had a really nice attic rehearsal room that I just discovered (I have a thing for attics). My plan had been to take some pictures and recordings for blogging purposes, but I got caught up in actually rehearsing. This is the paradox of social networking! To document the activity at the expense of actually doing it?! Argh. Anyway, I’ll work on that. The trick is probably to turn the microphone on. In the absence of any such documents, then, I offer some photos of the music in its paper form. It exists, which feels good! Now I just need to write a load more.

Mmm...papery...Papery goodness...



Sax quartet emerges…

On Thursday I went to the first rehearsal of Tom Ward’s new sax quartet. We played a whole bunch of Tom’s original tunes, arrangements and also his transcriptions of other sax quartets. I had a great time! Here are some highlights (recorded with a phone)…

Tom Ward (alto)
Chris Williams (alto)
Andrew Woolf (tenor)
Cath Roberts (bari)


‘Headmaster’s Daughter’