Well, I’ve been in beautiful Norway for two weeks now playing school concerts, and it’s been amazing to tour around the area of Møre og Romsdal. This sort of tour is pretty unusual; you’re up, loaded in and soundchecked by 9am and usually finished for the day by 3pm. This leaves a lot of time for being a tourist and hanging out in hotels.
In the past, I’ve always tried to have some kind of project to do for this hotel time. On a tour of the Trondheim area it was my Post Grad in Higher Education, and in another area of Møre og Romsdal I tried to compose something new each day. I find I need to set myself projects, as it’s all to easy to finish work for the day and get absorbed in TV programmes and other pastimes that aren’t particularly productive or creative.
This tour, I wanted to set myself a challenge to create and upload a video each day. I feel really lucky with my career, I get to spend a lot of my time making music with great people, but as an accompanist I’m often seen supporting other musicians rather than leading projects myself. I thought this project would be a great opportunity to share a bit of the music that resonates with me personally; a few of the tunes and songs I love played just by me.
Recording a video a day has it’s challenges. Playing music in hotel rooms made me feel quite exposed, and I found in certain hotels where I could hear my neighbours around me I couldn’t relax. On these days, I felt a tension in my throat when singing. Also, the acoustics in rooms that have been designed for comfort are not the best for playing and singing in. Curtains and carpets suck all the natural reverb out of the room, and you’re left with a very dry and honest sound.
However, there was something very liberating about the limitations of my video recording approach. There was no EQ, decent monitoring, automation or effects, just exactly what was happening in the room. The videos had to be one full take, so I had to strive for a solid performance, but at the same time couldn’t be too precious about playing things perfectly. I was creating snapshots of what was happening each day, and I had a time limit to create something so it couldn’t be too complicated.
Yes, there have been frustrating moments, but I’m really happy that I’ve managed to create and share 14 musical snapshots. The last two weeks have flown by, and I’m returning to Glasgow feeling refuelled and creative. Thanks to all the lovely people who followed my project – there were certainly a few nights I would have skipped recording if I didn’t have people waiting for a new video each day. I’ve had some lovely feedback, and I know a few folk will miss the daily uploads, as I will too!
You can listen to the full playlist of 14 videos here: