New Game, UKGE, catching up and half an idea

June 17, 2017

Were I even halfway concerned about my audience (rather than this entire blog being largely a vanity exercise) I would open with a meaningful apology for my recent absence. The only issue with such an opening gambit is that I’m really not sorry at all. I’ve been rather busy. However, I have few things to share with you. Read the rest of this entry »


2017 in review

January 15, 2017

It’s only a couple of weeks old, so it’s probably harsh to try reviewing 2017 already, but I know there are a couple of things coming up I wanted to muse on, so here goes.

[tl:dr Reflections on stuff that’s coming up, a couple of name drops and a quick delve through recent events. Normal service continues sometime soonish.] Read the rest of this entry »


Music Theory – “Core” or “Chore”?

May 1, 2014

I’m founding a school. Not that I really have that much to teach to established musicians, but I’d like to work with those who are a bit younger and less fixed in their ways.

I want to teach them about music theory – that boring exam everyone who wants to go from good to great must pass at one point or another.

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Notable development

March 22, 2014

Yes, I’m going to get all self-promotional and a touch ranty for a moment, but this is important to me.

Music education is a difficult balancing act between artistic development and summative assessment. By this, I mean that different people develop at different rates and have differing strengths which require addressing on an individual basis. Sticking every pupil through the same exam is a valid way of normalising progress and setting a bar to be reached.

My problem is just that. We set the test around those things that are easier to assess – performance, listening skills, memorising scales and reading music from the page at first sight. These things tend to be right or wrong – binary choices we can score against a total. Read the rest of this entry »


Harvest Songs – Where’s all the new material?

September 23, 2013

I’m playing at church on Sunday. My minister is talking to me about Harvest themed songs, and he hasn’t found much to enjoy from the “modern” worship canon.

Not that there is much really.

Harvest for most Christians is about thanking God for the abundance of creation. Even with all the skill in the world, farmers rely on nature to operate within normal tolerances and for us, that’s in the gift of Almighty God. We like a good knees-up. Anyone who thinks we don’t know how to party has never read about Jesus’ first recorded miracle – the whole water into wine thing. We are encouraged to celebrate, but apparently we must do it with a tragically dated soundtrack.
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Numbers, numbers.

August 19, 2013

It’s my 200th post. I’m celebrating by geeking out with an idea I’ve had for a piece of music.

Joker, Ace, Two, Three

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Writing new material on demand, and how it works for me

April 10, 2013

It’s a funny thing. I wrote a new song for a vicar in West Brom and I can’t get over how much fun it was to hear it sung.

The song was tough to get done, but it was easier than free composition in many ways because I was working to a specific brief and those limitations gave rise to a more ordered creative process for me.
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