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Day in the life of a folk musician / educator

Bellingham Festival

Last Saturday was a not untypical day for me. I got up early, went for a short jog (that part is not typical!) and then headed of to Lewisham to teach for their Saturday Music Centre. This is a job that I’ve been really enjoying this year, I have a great variety of teaching, the other staff are very supportive and all the students are lovely. I start out with 2x half hour violin lessons, 3 students in each class. We work on repertoire, musical literacy, and technique.

Then it’s the Lewisham Folk and World Music Group – today we’re running through material for an afternoon performance, including adjusting arrangements to take into account who will be there. This group is amazingly easy to teach – they often bring their own repertoire, and I give them the tools to arrange and perform it, which they then do themselves.

Next, after a 15 minute break, it’s an hour composition class. We’ve been covering a variety of topics this year, and this term each student has contributed to a group piece in a popular style (which they will perform in the end of term concert) and has written a solo piece in a contemporary classical style (using some 12 tone technique). I’m really proud of the way they’ve grappled with some difficult theory and used it creatively.

Then I head home for some lunch and a bit of a break, before heading out again for the Folk and World Music Group’s performance at the Bellingham Festival. The samba group and junior choir from the Saturday Centre are also performing, so it’s a nice social outing for the group. We perform 4 tunes: Mari’s Wedding, Blowzabella, Nonesuch, and Hava Nagila. (Photo from the Lewisham Music Hub twitter account)

After this, I am lucky that one of my fellow tutors gives me a lift to the Aquarius Golf Club in Honour Oak, where I’m calling a ceilidh for a birthday party. Calling is something that I don’t do very often, but I do really enjoy it, especially when it’s such a nice group as this. There is no reluctance, and quite a few people have danced before. We do lots of easy dances that are suitable for the children and the adults, and everybody has a great time! Rosie (fiddle) and I leave Will to DJ for the party into the night, and I’m home by 10.00 – another unusual thing for a Saturday night. A good day all round.

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