Your Sibelius Toolkit at Benslow Music

As a working musician, I find myself using Sibelius notation software all the time, in a variety of different contexts. With a hectic work life which spans touring with bands, teaching private students and youth orchestras and a wide range of studio work, I’m always looking for ways to make my workflow as efficient as possible and get the most out of whatever technology I’m working with.

In June 2020, I’ll be coming to the beautiful Benslow Music campus to run a four-day course entitled Your Sibelius Toolkit, where I’ll be passing on tips and advice for making the most of this super-powerful music notation program and helping course attendees to feel more confident and empowered Sibelius users.

This new course will look at using Sibelius notation software in a variety of different contexts, and will aim to make you a more confident Sibelius user. From keyboard shortcuts to customising the user interface, we will ensure that this powerful music creation tool works for you, complementing your creativity and processes, and allowing you to be more efficient in whatever you are working on. Participants should bring their own laptop with Sibelius version 7 or later to work on during the course. There may also be the opportunity to hear your compositions/orchestrations performed by the concurrent Chamber Orchestra course.

Benslow Music January-July 2020 Prospectus (download in full here)

This will be the first time that Benslow Music have run a specifically technology-based course, and I’m very excited to have been asked to come onboard and lead the course as their Sibelius tutor.

It maybe a full ten months away, but booking opens to the general public this week, so get onto the Benslow Music website now to bag your place.

Jade MayJean at O2 Academy

A few of the wonderful photos and videos I have been sent from Jade’s set at O2 Academy Islington last Thursday night, capturing a little bit of the incredible atmosphere at the show. (Big thanks especially to Jae Storer for some brilliant photography of the band onstage!)

It has been a huge privilege to spend the start of this year working on creating a live show for Jade from the songs on her 2018 album 20Sixty. I wanted to capture the cool, retro vibe of the album in the arrangements, whilst also making a visually impactful performance which grabs the audience’s attention with timecodes programmed lighting as well as a dynamic live band onstage.

Seeing this all come together in such a fantastic way on Thursday night last week – at a venue like O2 Academy, with a packed crowd watching the set – was an amazing feeling. I feel so proud of these performances, and I am very happy to have been able to deliver the audio and visual effect which Jade wanted from her live show.

Now onwards and upwards to the next exciting performance with Jade’s live band: on the main stage of the Ipswich Music Day in Christchurch Park, on Sunday 7th July.

Lady Will You Be My Friend from On The Edge by Tony Ashman

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of recording an original song in my studio; Lady Will You Be My Friend is a song from the debut novel On The Edge by retired Norfolk GP Tony Ashman – the song appears in the text of the book, and is sung by one of the main characters at a pivotal point in the plot. Without giving too much away, the song has quite an impact on the narrative!

Because the character in the book is a guitarist and singer, I was able to ask my friend James Porter to play guitar on the session at my studio in Norfolk. I then sang the track, and mixed it.

The finished track is now available to listen to on YouTube here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIXPTy_EC_I

On The Edge is published by Paul Dickson Books, and is available to buy from the publisher direct or on Amazon.

Ultra ’90s at Boston Gliderdrome

Barely seems like a week ago that we were playing Ultra ’90s at the iconic Boston Gliderdrome… In fact, it was late February – and it’s now the start of April! Where does the time go?

Still, what an absolutely fantastic gig to look back on now! To play at a venue with so much history – and such an incredible atmosphere – is definitely something which stays with you.

As ever, huge thanks to everyone who came out to the show, and to our brilliant photographers who captured the totally electric feeling of the night wonderfully. So here is a selection of some of my favourite images from the Gliderdrome.

Sistema In Norwich Performance Project featured on Sistema Europe website

A recent article on the Sistema Europe website has put the spotlight on Sistema In Norwich’s ‘Performance Project’ – a brand new Sistema initiative for 2018-19.

Over the course of 12 concerts and just under a year and a half, Sistema in Norwich will engage with circus groups, the Norwich-based Vagaband, fellow Sistema-influenced groups and established musicians and composers from across Europe.

The project also provides the young musicians involved with the chance to compose for a variety of scenarios and formations, with pieces for soloists, ensembles, brass and wind sections all finding their way into the schedule.

The Sistema Performance Project thus increases Sistema in Norwich’s social impact, provides its students with additional performance time and accelerates their personal development, promoting self-confidence, resilience and leadership – all while building upon Sistema in Norwich’s existing connections both at home and abroad.

Sistema Europe website

The circus performance in collaboration with Lost In Translation – which took place in October of last year – was an exciting and innovative project, expanding our students’ horizons and bringing them into contact with other forms and settings of orchestral performance.

It is always gratifying to gain the recognition of the international Sistema community for our work, and it is an honour to be a part of a global musical movement with the history and pedigree of Sistema.

And with eight more Performance Project concerts scheduled throughout this year, there’ll be plenty more opportunities to check out the great work of Sistema In Norwich for yourself. Head to the NORCA & Sistema In Norwich website for full details of dates, venues, ticket prices, etc.