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Originally trained at the Newark School of Violin Making, the foundations of my making are in the classical traditions of instrument making passed down and developed over centuries. I like to allow myself flexibility and freedom, and combine this with modern knowledge and techniques to enable me to further develop as a maker.
I am constantly working on designing instruments using the classical methods of harmonic design. Uusing knowledge which was highly developed in the renaissance period guides my work. Using this approach allows me to keep in the rooted traditions but still leaves me with endless possibilities to adjust and experiment depending on the desired result and create original pieces.
My research led me to reconstructing for myself an ongoing version of the Quadrivium, part of the ancient education system of the 7 liberal arts founded in ancient Greece around the 6th century and leading into the renaissance of the 12th century and the 14th-17th century.
The 4 parts of the Quadrivium were divided into: arithmetic (number), geometry (number in space), harmony (number in time), and astronomy (number in space and time).
I categorise my work into 2 areas – personal designed models; and ones inspired by regions and classical makers.
Goethe once said “All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, until they take root in our personal experience.”
This is why, alongside my personal models, I also design instruments based on the classical makers who I very much admire, but reconstructed, and often adjusted from their original design using the design principles that I find in their work combined with my knowledge of harmonic proportional design.
It’s very easy to see you work as original from a small bubble by closing your eyes to looking at others who may have trodden similar paths. But, if open to looking, allows you to have a relatively infinite number of lessons on hand in order to be able to truly make an original creation which is my goal.
Stylistically, the character and personality is defined and created through creating a harmony between the details. The visual harmony, just like a person, can be made to compliment, contrast or embellish with the character of the sound of the instrument. Each stage building on the last to create the whole.
Music speaks to all of us because of the emotion it can produce, the elated visual stimulation of performances, the raw passion of expression and the fantastical landscapes that can be painted with it.
You have so many emotions to explore and communicate with different moods to audiences, you really want to draw them in to YOUR story, give them the journey you plan to take them on and create the mental environment that you have visualised for them.
Often these get merged and it’s easy to expect as a performer that just by saying something your audience is feeling it.
You want to make sure the audience FEEL something when you play, not just hear you, and so you need to give as much attention to all the aspects that convey your emotions and the picture you want to paint, as you do to your playing.
Being a musician is more than just practice
There’s 2 steps in your sound production, YOURSELF and YOUR INSTRUMENT before your message gets to the listener. Putting all attention to one at not the other severely dampens any attempts to express yourself.
YOU may be expressing yourself perfectly – raw and imperfectly perfect – but all that may be lessened by your instrument as IT’S not able to match you and your ideas and add a helping hand rather than make you fight for a response from it – diluting your attention and energy.
STORYTELLING is the only skill that’s been valued so highly throughout history in all versions. It leaks into all scenarios – power, influence, pleasure, entertainment, communication, and essentially shapes our ability to communicate something to another person.
There are so many elements to creating bold passionate, congruent communication that allow you to create that true connection with other people through music, and that’s really all we’re aiming for.
TUNNEL VISION in music can lead to a lack of clarity in communication and prevent you from getting your own special personality across.
This gap pushes you into feeling like JUST ANOTHER PLAYER and isolates all the intense hours every day and years of passion you have put into your practicing and really can crush your soul.
1 – Learn to value all elements that create clearer, more expressive communication
2 – Master all elements
3 – Give depth to your performing
4 – Create meaning
Very often we roll several skills into the same things and don’t break them down enough in order to be able to create mastery in what we do.
For example, the skill of singing requires – physical stamina in your voice, memory ability for the words, acting for the body language, visualisation to be able to clearly see images in your head, storytelling to give flow and a sense of progression, and yes, vocal skill to create a wide range of dynamics and techniques to play with the emotion throughout.
Most people will just focus on the last point here – technique – not realising that through strengthening all of the other like equal skills, the foundation you create for yourself as a musician, having all of those plates with a strength and separate mastery, your strength as a communicator, storyteller, and leader grows.
How do you feel as a player when:
You want to shape people’s days, inspire them to connect with other humans, create an environment of joy and sharing, to offer deeper unspoken connections between individuals and offer people deeper levels to connect on.
To do this you need a medium that can match your depth of expression and enable you to show the colours, dynamics and emotional ranges you are trying to express. And that’s where I focus my energy.
When you become the person who fully understands the value of having these pillars in place it will lead you to a different space as a musician. This will allow you to focus on your message, and evaluate which means you think will best express your message to your audience.
Once you have put a BEACON of yourself out to other people you will find the people who will truly value you as an individual and have a REAL audience that will CONSISTENTLY and PASSIONATELY support your career. AND GIVE YOU A CAREER.
There is no means of supporting yourself through music without using hope and guesswork without this.
Value and BE LOUD about everything about yourself that creates the WHOLE PICTURE of you, not just the easy parts to show. There are ALWAYS other people who will relate to you. But only when it’s made OBVIOUS to people.