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Brand New World

I have been teaching cellists online for a few months now, and on Saturday I launched the new Online Time Line series. It is another arm of the Unsung Heroes Cello Ensemble workshops and courses I have been running since 2005.

This online project had been quietly going round my head for a while, and then was brought into focus by the idea of restriction from our state of lockdown. Limitation can be seen as a gift and makes it possible to generate new ways of thinking, behaving and forging new paths. It has helped me to think, talk and see differently and change is good - even if my eyesight has got worse looking at reduced size cellists!

So the Time Line Series is here and it is a new way of going about presenting the core work in an Unsung Heroes Cello Ensemble workshop. The medium didn’t make a difference: we were together in a true sense, talking, developing & experimenting with issues at the heart of both our own playing and within a piece of music from the collection of scores I have made.

As usual, I want to share a wide range of music with you from the Renaissance forwards. We all want, and need to be, a rounded musician - quite a big ask. The paths my career has taken me in have exposed me to new genres as well as familiar ones and we all have holes in our knowledge. We need new influences.

In Season 1, I am presenting a wide range of music for this reason and you may react to certain composers or eras and think it’s not for you. Music, like all art forms is infused by history itself and I have often grown the most when in unfamiliar territory and growth is vital.

On Saturday overseas cellists joined us and we had a really warm atmosphere and interconnected feeling working on one of my favourite anthems by Thomas Tomkins. This music was new to some in the group and had a revelatory feel for them.

At the heart of this moment in time, is what we teachers yearn for: the opportunity to do more in-depth looking & searching within this script/drama/score in our hands and to take time to develop an understanding to encourage a more rounded and personal relationship with the music.

I am keeping the numbers small, as they are in all my courses and workshops, so things stay personal.

There will be a follow-up set of notes to help you keep the work moving ahead to a future point when you can meet with other cellists feeling more infused with confidence and knowledge.