Think BIG is a voluntary project run by a local community of female business owners in and around SE22 South London. I was invited to take part in JAGS’ 6th Form lecture programme aimed at giving year 13 girls information to help them explore life after school.
The theme was career resilience and adapting to future life changes, giving insight and inspiration in case ‘Plan A’, or even ‘Plan B’ doesn’t go quite as expected. We showed them how as a strong individuals you can make the most of unexpected events and learn to take advantage of great opportunities out there if you go with them.
Myself and two local business owners, Claire Empson and Natasha Roe, talked about the challenges we faced, how we’d adapted when life threw some economic and personal changes our ways, and what had been the spark for us to set up our own very different businesses. We took the girls with us on our journeys from school to the present day, exposing some of the things that have gone right (and not so right) along the way! The overriding message was not to fear change but to look for the opportunities it offers.
My presentation was entitled ‘Making Music Work‘ and covered the varied careers that finally ended up in self-employment as a musician. I also discussed the different elements of my business which include running a piano teaching agency in East Dulwich; a busy Music Festival that takes place several times a year and also working as a solo musician. A working musician will usually have a career made up of many different roles in order to make ends meet!
Also participating in the presentation were Claire Empson of Daisylets&sales and Natasha Roe of Red Pencil. Claire is the founder of the ThinkBIG project.
We gathered on a gloriously sunny day at The Warehouse in South London for the second annual Casio Workshop for Piano Teachers. The Warehouse is home to the London Festival Orchestra and is conveniently located a few minutes walk from Waterloo station. The event is organised by Lorraine Liyanage, Head Teacher at the SE22 Piano School and Director of the Dulwich Classical Keyboard Festival. Casio have sponsored the piano classes of the Dulwich Classical Keyboard Festival since 2013 and the SE22 Piano School have two of their instruments in their studio as well as numerous students using their excellent digital pianos.
For this year’s workshop, we were delighted to have use of the newly released Celviano
Grand Hybrid Piano. Casio has collaborated with German piano maker C. Bechstein to develop the Celviano Grand Hybrid, a digital grand piano that takes up no more room than the average keyboard. The idea is to combine all the benefits of electric and acoustic pianos, while delivering the experience of playing a grand piano. There is a choice of three grand piano sounds: The Berlin, Hamburg or Vienna grand. The scene feature provides 15 different preset modes for different composers including Debussy, Chopin and Liszt. They provide the optimal tones and reverberation for each piece that is being played. A hall simulator also recreates the experience of performing in a real concert venue. See the end of this article to watch Benjamin Grosvenor play a Casio Celviano Grand Hybrid at the Casio/C. Bechstein press conference at Stilwerk in Berlin.
In addition to the sound, the keys go one step further towards replicating the feel of a grand piano by the use of C. Bechstein’s traditional wooden keys and a natural grand hammer action to enhance response and feedback. This makes the keys feel sufficiently weighted under the fingers.
Our workshop participants thoroughly enjoyed playing the Grand Hybrid piano and wide range of Casio pianos on the day. We had informative workshops from physiotherapist Drusilla Redman including an excellent Posture Clinic that assesses the optimal position for pianists to sit at the piano. We will all be using this information when next teaching to ensure our students are sat in a way that will enhance effortless playing and minimise injury. Two composers, Rosa Conrad and Heather Hammond, led workshops on creative ensemble playing and incorporating jazz into music lessons. Verity Gallagher from CLIC Sargent also came to talk to use about Practice-a-thon and how the money raised from CLIC Sargent’s fundraising supports young people with cancer and their families. Finally, the session concluded with a demonstration of the Yohondo app from John Holcroft. The app is made to help students learn their ABRSM exam pieces in bite-size pieces. The app is for iPad and is a brilliant addition to the weekly lesson as it helps the student break down their practice into manageable chunks that will lead to greater progress than trying to play the same thing over and over again without any sense of the bigger picture. Exhibitors Manu-Mat and Solemate displayed their products on the day. Do contact John at Yohondo for your code to download your free app.
Join us for an exciting day of workshops, presentations and discussion with fellow piano teachers. You can read a review of last year’s event [here].
Casio: Product Demonstration of the latest digital pianos. Teachers may acquire an instrument on a free loan for evaluation purposes. Sign up on the day with Casio. http://www.casio.co.uk
All That Jazz: Composer Heather Hammond delivers a session on jazz music for young pianists. There are many books available of Heather’s popular music for young instrumentalists. These include collections for piano, clarinet, saxophone and flute at various grades all published exclusively by Kevin Mayhew Publishers. The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Trinity Guildhall and London College have all included Heather’s pieces in their exam syllabuses. Heather also plays electronic keyboard and often writes pieces for the Yamaha Keyboard Club magazine. Pieces used during the session will be available in advance for you to preview. http://www.heather-hammond.co.uk/styled/
Yohondo: A presentation on the use of technology in piano lessons. Yohondo for iPad is the fun, bite size way to learn your piano pieces. For the classics and for the ABRSM piano exams. http://www.yohondo.co.uk
Drusilla Redman presents a Posture Clinic with guidance on how to check your students’ posture. Drusilla will also address the issue of Performance Anxiety and Tension.
Rosa Conrad: Rosa is a London-based composer with a wide range of repertoire for piano including duets and solo pieces, and is passionate about the early stages of music learning. Rosa will be leading a duet and creative ensemble workshop at the event. Explore how to get your beginner students engaged with harmony right from the start, through enjoyable activities which create a sense of ownership of the piece and a deeper understanding of music.
Rosa will be demonstrating from her duet books and the first book in the ‘Fun Games and Party Pieces’ series. She will show how the creative techniques outlined in this series can be applied to any piece the student plays, and at any level of study. Audience participation encouraged!
[Sample Solo Piece] [Sample Duets] http://rosaconrad.com/
CLIC Sargent: Helen Lye will be talking about Practice-a-thon, CLIC Sargent’s UK-wide fundraising campaign for young musicians. CLIC Sargent encourages schools, youth clubs and groups across the UK to hold their own event and raise money for young cancer patients. Students are sponsored to practice their musical instrument, arrange a concert or organise a music marathon! http://www.clicsargent.org.uk/
SoleMate Piano Footstool: Naomi O’Brien will be demoing her great new product and these will be on sale at a discounted rate for attendees on the day. SoleMate is a revolutionary footstool that helps children achieve the correct posture when playing the piano. http://www.neverboreddesign.com/solemate-2
Please note lunch is not included but there are several nearby establishments or you may bring your own lunch. Tea and coffee is provided.