Rachael: “Personally, I have most enjoyed the projects out in the community working with children and writing music with them. I found the fundamental skills training absolutely brilliant because I now feel I have a head full of games, songs and exercises that are on hand should the right occasion arise!”
What has been your most challenging experience?
Preetha: “Getting out of my comfort zone to try new things musically and compositionally. The course has challenged me to bring concepts and philosophy into composition and our art. For instance, the projects that we have had working with visual artists that result in a full-scale performance have really encouraged us to be proactive in our ideas, analyse the concepts and produce high-level material.”
Rachael: “I think that my most challenging experience has been the MAP project. I have never really collaborated with visual artists before, all of my previous collaborations having been with actors. It has been an interesting process learning how visual artists work and how you can create something together without tools such as improvisation as starting points.”
There are some great opportunities for international work on the Leadership course – can you tell us about this?
Preetha: “Travelling has been one of the highlights of this course! In December, I spent three weeks in the Gambia with seven other students. We stayed in a camp in Berefet village, working with musicians from four different Gambian tribes. Getting immersed immediately in the culture and the performing arts, we realised how song, dance, and percussion are all seen as one entity in Gambian culture and one needs to have understanding of all the components to grasp the music or dance in its entirety. Because this part of the world has little access to technology as we in the modern world have come to take for granted, the Gambian people find entertainment through taking part in song and dance; the children in the village could sing all the songs we were learning! At night, the people would simply sit around a bonfire for hours, sharing stories, songs, conversation, and even silence.
“Following the Gambia trip, I had the opportunity to go to Israel with my ensemble, Sezenyum, to collaborate with Arab-Israeli musicians, which culminated in two performances, and work with the students of Beit Al Musica Conservatory. Having spent the previous summer leading
workshops and sessions in Singapore and Malaysia with the same ensemble, it was wonderful to be in a new setting with previous experience. We were exposed to the Palestinian sound world and the Arabic style of playing and working. Seeing how other cultures approach music and life influences our own approaches to creativity and collaboration; these experiences, although perhaps short in time, are constantly with us in our day-to-day lives in London and in the work we pursue here.”
Rachael – what’s in store for you next year?
Rachael: “I will be continuing onto the second year of Leadership if all goes to plan! I will also continue working for Southwark Bluenote where I am the General Musicianship teacher, coaching the woodwind section of the Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, being a Support Team member of the National Youth Orchestra, running baby music workshops for Boppin’ Bunnies in Greenwich and workshop leading. I am also going to keep playing with
folk trio Stingo, Guildhall Folk Ensemble, OTBSoul and Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. So it’s going to be another busy but brilliant year and after that...I’ll let you know!”
Preetha – what do you plan to do when you finish your course this summer?
Preetha: “I plan to continue to develop my musicianship in London, for I feel that I have planted many seeds on and off the course that need further exploration. I want to stay connected to the Guildhall and work on projects while simultaneously playing performances and gigs independently and continuing to collaborate with artists of various disciplines.”
v Jenny Beer Development Administrator GUILDHALL SCHOOL NEWS • AUTUMN / WINTER 2010 9
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