Leaving home at 3.00 am on a Saturday morning at the beginning of February was not a particular pleasant experience, but it was so worth it! Mike Mower, Cathy Hare and I were invited to Jersey to deliver a weekend of Flutewise activities. Claire Harvey had planned it all along with her flute player/teacher husbands, Andy and pianist Chris George was also involved. Lots of planning had gone on before hand - Mike and Chris had even tried to rehearse on Skype (it didn’t work!).
The venue was/is amazing. The Jersey Academy of Music is housed in Chateau Vermont in St Saviour, Jersey. Mike, Cathy and I were sleeping there and I’m not going to tell you what our bedrooms were like because you would be soooo jealous!
We had a lovely group of young flute players come along to take part and we did all the usual Flutewise activities - warm up, ensemble playing, creative music making, Mike taught us improvisation, Cathy worked on tone. Mike wrote a few extra parts to his excellent Township Time from his Junior Musical Postcards book and this went down a storm.
While Mike and Cathy rehearsed in the afternoon with Chris for the evening concert, I taught everyone with extended techniques needed for Ian Clarke’s Walk Like This and then we rehearsed the piece. The young flute players did so well and loved it. As they were enjoying it so much we decided not to use it for the evening concert but to keep it for the concert on Sunday so we could enjoy it for longer.
The concert was wonderful on Saturday evening, we had a great audience.
Sunday morning dawned and it was off to work again. It was lovely doing a second day as everyone knew each other and bonded well. One of the highlights was working on The Purple Cow. If you’ve been to a Flutewise event before you might have experienced this - it’s a poem, with a simple round which we use to create a performance. Every performance turns out differently and everyone works very hard and really enjoys it.
Something else the young players really loved over the weekend was Erik’s Game or ‘piccolo’. Now if you haven’t played that yet, you really need to. Get to the next Flutewise event.
Over the weekend we had lots of fun, heard sublime and exhilarating playing from Mike and Cathy, learnt lots of new techniques (including a bit of beatboxing) and thoroughly enjoyed exploring Mike’s music and learning a bit about improvisation.
A big thank you to everyone who came along - including Ava and Mabel who came from London - and thank you to Mike and Cathy and to the people who made it possible, Claire, Andy and Chris.
Mike and I were last in Jersey for a Flutewise event in 1998! Flutewise has plans to go back during October half term for a 3 day course - watch the website for details!