I am pleased to be once again coaching the saxophone section for the Musical Chairs Summer School in July 2023. The course will run from July 25th to 28th, 10am – 4pm each day. There is home cooked, fresh food available to purchase each day as well as teas, coffees etc. The daily sessions are held at St. Marks Church Hall in West Parley, Ferndown near Bournemouth in Dorset. There is no accommodation included but there are plenty of options and places to stay in the local area. We will be led again by local legend – Alastair Hume who creates custom arrangements tailored to the instrumentation. It’s a very relaxed environment to better your playing and gain more experience. This is a great workshop for sax, clarinet, flute and brass players as well as percussion and more. More information can be found at www.mcss.org.uk or email Joanna Welsh at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yanagisawa Saxophones UK Artist
I have been singing the praises of the latest models of Yanagisawa Saxophones for a while now, my preference being the TWO20 Tenor. I am pleased to say that Yanagisawa have made me a UK Yanagisawa Artist. I am humbled to be listed amongst so much saxophone greatness! If you haven’t tried these great saxophones then you’re missing out.
Jazz Saxophone in Red Square 1990
I was looking through old photos and cam across this gem from 1990. I was fortunate enough to attend Homefield School in Winkton, Christchurch when Colin Young was the head of Music. Colin crafted a fantastic orchestra from children who attended Homefield and other schools. We went on various tours over the years to countreis including The Czech Republic, Germany, France, Switzerland and the most interesting for me, Russia. We played in Leningrad and Moscow and visited Tchiakovsky’s House and the graves of Russian master composers. One concert was attended by a large group of the Red Army who were a great audience! Here is a photo from our very quick busking attemp in Red Square, we were moved on rather quickly by the KGB! I am the geeky looking one on the far right. From left to right Jason Barlow (Trumpet), Jim Partridge (Trumpet), Glenn Barlow (Trumpet), Simon Boothroyd (Trombone), James Aldred (Tenor Saxophone, James Rawlinson (Alto Saxophone).
September this year saw the loss of one of the most inspirational characters from my past. We all have people that we look up to and admire and musically Alan Melly was that chap for me. At junior school I had witnessed Alan in his element, entertaining me and my fellow schoolmates with a woodwind demonstration accompanied by Eddie Moors Senior the local music shop owner and well known entrepreneur. Alan wowed us all with a rendition of “pop-corn”, which included slap-tongue and other amazing effects. He showed us what a musical note looked like by firing a ping-pong ball out of the clarinet and he put the clarinet to bed by playing it piece by piece, slowly disassembling it whilst playing the Brahms Lullaby. It was this sense of humour and love of music that went on to inspire thousands of Clarinet, Saxophone and Flute players to achieve great things. This aside he was a great musician who performed with so many well known bands and musicians including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Palm Court Theatre Orchestra, The Dudley More Trio (on TV) and so many more that I would be here all day listing them. I was fortunate enough before the first lock-down to catch up with Alan in his favourite coffee shop; The Fleur De Lis in Christchurch. What was going to be a quick half-hour turned into 2 hours of reminiscing of the old days. He had also given me the thumbs up with my creation – The Red Fez Orchestra and came to see the band twice. This was high praise indeed and meant a lot to me and other members of the band. Alan’s passing marks the end of an era and I only hope that I myself can leave such a lasting impression as a musician and teacher for the next generation.
May 2022 ABRSM Results
May 2022 ABRSM Examination Results
Well done to the 7 candidates that took an ABRSM exam this term. There were 7 entries.
George Grade 2 Jazz Trumpet – Merit 127
Brian Grade 6 Trumpet – Distinction 135
Oriana Grade 6 Flute – Pass 113
Felix Grade 3 Jazz Alto Sax – Distinction 130
Tilda Grade 5 Jazz Flute – Merit 127
Adam Grade 8 Alto Sax – Distinction 137
Noah Grade 5 Jazz Clarinet – Distinction 130
Note – I have not begun teaching the trumpet as such 😉 , but have helped these candidates with improvisation and jazz work. I will leave the dark art of brass playing to someone else.
Jay MetCalf Bettersax Workshop
I was honoured to work with Jay Metcalf of YouTube fame on May 13-15th. Jay is well known for his well presented, easy to understand tutorials as well as his great reviews of new products. A lot of topics were covered over the weekend, including important fundamentals such as long-tones, pentatonic improvisation, dispensing with the written music, overtones and the importance of listening.
I also got the chance to try some of the SYOS 3D printed mouthpieces. Pauline from SYOS was incredibly helpful and I will be visiting their website to investigate further www.syos.co As you can see I was being very serious in the photo and not messing about at all!
D’addario reeds and mouthpieces were also in attendance and I tried one of the new VENN synthetic tenor saxophone reeds. I have been slightly sceptical up to this point of the plastic reeds on offer on the market but was very pleasantly surprised to find the new VENN reeds were great! I usually use a strength 3 Vandoren Blue box tenor reed and was advised by Lucy from D’addario to try a 2.5 VENN. I haven’t stopped using it since. Well done D’addario, I know it’s been 6 years in the making but it’s been worth the wait.
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A big thank you must also go to Vandoren, Yanagisawa Saxophones UK, Key Leaves, sax.co.uk, Jody Jazz, Rovner products and Legere Reeds who all sponsored the event.