Sunday, 31 January 2016

Heavenly Hikes, Jammy Jamming and Groovy Moving

I can't believe it's the end of my first week here already! There's been so much learning, music-making, and FUN packed into 7 days, so time has flown by!

Friday was a day for collaboration, but also a chance to think about my own project and how to move forward with it. I went back to Emily's hut in the morning to lay down some cello lines on her newest song and then had some valuable advice from Tilman about the tech I'm using, with some really cool listening recommendations for inspiration and for insight on set-up - loads to think about and really exciting to feel that I can spend some quality time actually figuring out the best way to use my pedal, enhance my sounds and create much better quality tracks and recordings. There is still a lot for me to experiment with and discover in terms of this, so I'm really looking forward to playing around with both my existing music, as well as the new tunes I'm writing. Also, I am gradually working on the live aspect of my looping, which will take lots of practise - good job I've got a couple more weeks in my homely hut!

Lunchtime saw my brave return to the yoga studio, but I'm so glad I went! This time there was a different instructor, who seemed cool with us novices almost falling over and potentially causing serious disruption to the class..! This second time was already a lot easier and therefore more enjoyable. There was way more focus on breathing - which definitely helped when it came to balancing on your big toe whilst juggling yoga blocks and chanting the alphabet backwards.. (At least that's what it felt like to me at times!) I feel like yoga has to be a regular occurrence in my life now - the feeling afterwards is pretty wonderful!

To continue the yoga theme, I visited Amy's hut in the afternoon. Amy writes, records and produces seriously cool music intended for yoga practise. As well as recording a few cello lines for a couple of her tracks, I was given an insight into Ableton Live and how it works, which really appeals to me.. thinking of switching! Friday evening saw a concert in Rolston, which is the more formal concert hall venue here. We were treated to some gorgeous, virtuosic and exciting music by several of the musicians in residence, as well as the visiting faculty, pianist Ronan O'Hora. It was another inspiring concert - so much to enjoy and to learn from. After a bit more hut time, is was time to throw some shapes at a party in The Club. There were plenty of mean movers, despite a slightly questionable DJ - but it was fun to relax with everyone and bring out the shopping trolley/sprinkler/lawn mower classics...

Saturday morning was spent hiking up our nearest mountain - Tunnel Mountain. Alex, Amao and I decided to set off fairly early, all kitted out in boots, hats, coats... and ready for some insane views! The hike was quite challenging, as it was our first one, and exercise just leaves you that little bit more out-of-breath up here! (Or perhaps that's the effect of all those lush breakfasts and naughty desserts...)
The views became more and more spectacular as we ascended the mountain, and when we reached the top we could see not only down over the whole town of Banff, but also down the other side, where we could see frozen rivers and more incredible mountains. (Pictures to follow OF COURSE!) We were even greeted by a couple of sunken, red wooden chairs right at the summit - the perfect spot for a picnic!? Perhaps a little chilly in January...
We were all VERY ready for a hefty lunch when we arrived back at the centre... no skimping on dessert today!

In the afternoon I nipped into a performance workshop to play a song with Justine, spent some more time experimenting with Garageband in my hut, and rehearsed for a new ensemble jazz piece written by the groovy saxophonist and composer, Paul. I then had some time in a bigger space to figure out how I would work my positioning and tech for some live looping, which was really useful. My Saturday evening was spent spontaneously jamming in a bar down in Banff, called The Bear's Den (I think!) with Justine! It was a lot of fun - Justine played an awesome array of cover songs, mixed in with a few of her own, whilst I jammed along. We played 3 sets, and on the third Paul whipped out his sax and we all had a jammy jam - great fun, lovely atmosphere and good ear training for me..!

Today (Sunday) has meant another gig, this time in a nice art gallery in the town of Banff. It was a lunchtime concert in a lovely room full of photography. A handful of us played some solos, (I chose Julie-O), with a great variety of styles and instruments... and we finished with some collaboration. There was a great turn-out and the audience were all very friendly! Really great to get out and share our music in the community. It's definitely now time for some concentrated hut happenings for me :)

Cheers! P x

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