You know when you come up with an idea, and think it’s great, then there’s the reality of how much work it will take and the temptation is to forget about it…..
Well I’m glad that I followed this particular project through, because although it’s been a huge amount of organizing, time and effort, it has been a real pleasure to work with everyone involved.
The project was to create 15 videos, of saxophone students at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music, performing pieces that are composed by Rob Buckland and myself, published by Astute Music, and which all feature on the ABRSM saxophone syllabus.
I’d just like to share a little background here on my blog, as it’s been quite a journey to reach the point of public release of these videos!
Over the last couple of years I’ve undertaken some teaching at JRNCM, which I’ve now handed over to my colleague Carl Raven, and on Saturday mornings I had an opportunity to witness first hand the great positivity and energy that accompanies hundreds of young musicians coming to somewhere like the RNCM on a weekly basis. The young students have lessons, on their instrument(s), theory, musicianship, play in ensembles such as big band, brass band, orchestras etc., and there is a real buzz around the building. Parents bring their children to Manchester, quite a few of them driving 2+ hours, with parents setting up their laptops in the refectory from 9.30am until 4.30pm! The students and teachers all have huge respect for the lady that coordinates and organizes JRNCM, Karen Humphreys. She does a fantastic job, and her personality is reflected in my opinion on the whole building and everyone in it on Saturdays, a fine balance of professionalism, hard working ethic, enjoyment of music and of other people’s company, and respecting others.
Karen has been fully supportive of the saxophone video project from day one, suggesting that James Orrell played piano for the sax students (himself a JRNCM student at the time), and logistically made sure that everything ran smoothly for the students, as we wanted to provide them with the experience of recording and filming in as non-pressurised an environment as possible.
Then experience and contacts kick in…… I’m fortunate enough to be able to undertake projects of this nature with Joe Mace filming events, and Mark White recording them. We’ve undertaken a number of projects together and they’re both highly skilled at their respective jobs, and great fun to work with!
There were a number of overheads involved in this project and it became apparent that sponsorship was a necessity. The saxophone companies Alphasax, Trevor James & Yanagisawa all came on board, and instruments were sent to the JRNCM a fortnight before recording for the students to get used to (the feel, sound etc.). Recording on an instrument that isn’t yours is quite a tall order for a younger player, and they all just got on with it and did the business!
Parents kindly gave up more time and brought the JRNCM saxophone students that were involved in this project to the college on a Sunday morning, and we gradually worked our way through all fifteen pieces. Then the editing process started, and then proofing, and writing credits.
All of this takes times, and then videos were sent round to sponsors and JRNCM for approval.
Now they’re all done, and I’d like to publically say a big thank you to the students involved – Jess Gillam, Jess Mitchell, Joey Skinner, Jodie Buckland and James Gordon – you were all great! A massive thank you to James Orrell who was a brilliant accompanist, and to Karen & Louise at JRNCM.
Also thanks to Joe & Mark, Lauren, Astute Music and our sponsors Alphasax, Trevor James and Yanagisawa.
Surely it would have been easier if Rob & I played our pieces? Yes it would, but who wants to see and listen to us when we’ve got such talented young musicians at the JRNCM!
I hope that you enjoy watching and listening to the videos, and that they may be useful to saxophonists worldwide who are wondering which pieces to choose to play for an ABRSM saxophone exam?!
Please click on the link to go to the videos;
news items and blog posts by Andy Scott