Summer has arrived, although the weather doesn’t seem to sure of it at times. A good thunder storm though is a fantastic starting point for a bit of programme music, have a listen to Johann Strauss II Unter Donner und Blitz for instance.

The end of the academic year approaches and, even with lockdown due to COVID-19, I’ve been very busy. At the University of Liverpool we conducted practical assessments via online video calls. The students did fantastically well to cope with the situation and it truly reflects how inventive people can be under unusual and pressing circumstances. 

During the COVID-19 lockdown I’ve made a couple of videos: one for my godson’s 11th birthday based on Star Wars music, and the second included the classic Batman theme for my nephew’s 3rd birthday. Lots of fun experimenting! I am also embarking on a more serious recording project with my piano ensemble students at the Royal Birmingham Junior Conservatoire. I’ve selected 33 different duets, with every student having at least two parts from different pieces. Every student is recording their part and I will collate and edit the videos together to create an end of year virtual concert. I did a trial piano duet recording so I could provide my students with clear instructions, an arrangement of Schubert’s Trout:

I’ve never tried anything like this before, it was good fun – you’ll notice it’s on my new YouTube channel too!

As we continue into the summer months, I am turning my attention to research and new projects. I’m continuing with my Schubert research and writing, lots of new repertoire to learn in this department too. I’m also planning how teaching will continue and how technology can be used to help enhance learning. Keeping busy is the way.

The picture for this blog is a beautiful rose from my garden – take care and keep smiling.

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