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Zooming ahead with a new approach

We love to be an orchestra, but you know, it just doesn’t work on zoom. We’ve been doing various recording projects that are GREAT and have stretched us in so many different ways, but we are not aiming to be the next on stage at the Royal Albert Hall, and to keep the balance of fun and work in check we’re taking a new approach.

Yes, we are still recording the Simon & Garfunkel medley arranged by our very own Mark (trombone), and we are still meeting regularly (on zoom) but we are not meeting to rehearse…

We’re chatting! and checking up on one another 🙂 Life has gotten slightly weird, and it’s time to put the fun back into it, in new at-a-distance and online ways.

We are meeting every Wednesday on Zoom at the normal time of 7:00 pm and we chat! This week we decided to add a musical task! We are going to have a ‘Composer of the Week’ and people are invited to find out something about the composer, the music, the private life, the harmony… whatever takes your fancy and then share with the group in the next session. YAY! A PROJECT!!!!

If you’d like to ‘claim’ a topic please leave a comment! Or if you have something you would particularly like to have researched, leave that as a comment too!

Wednesday 13 May we’ll be talking about Vaughan Williams (as well as cats, baking, gardens, and anything else that comes to mind) If you would like to join us, you can message Laura via this website and you’ll be very welcomed!



One more time! We’re listening…

ECCO is preparing for a concert, and although playing in this orchestra is completely voluntary, and a hobby for most – and many of our players have little or no experience of playing in a group before (at least not recently), everyone still wants to improve. 

I introduced a very visceral form of reflection: Recording and listening back right away. That way we can think about it as a group, discussing and making changes right away. However, just like hearing your own voice on a recording for the first time, somehow hearing music made externally to the body through instruments can feel equally personal and exposing. In essence you’re revealing your inner, musical voice. 

During our rehearsal we played, and I recorded 1 minute, maybe 2 minutes of a song and we listened back. The orchestra were nervous at the thought of listening through the big speakers in the University Chapel. Some giggled. There were little cries of ‘I heard myself!’ and ‘I could recognise the tune!’ and then we talked about it. What was good? What could be improved? Did it sound as they thought it would, as they intended it to sound? How to make that happen when we play it again? 

People came up with suggestions, and we practised. Rehearsed. Listened more carefully, and time to test it. We recorded again, and in a few short concentrated minutes there was noticeable improvement. Collective improvement. An orchestral sound. (you can hear the before and after in the audio files)

Western Frontier Practice
Western Frontier Improved

‘Let’s do it again,’ they said. ‘One more time!’

There’s a lot of joy in these rehearsals and there is definite improvement, week to week, and within each session. Here’s to the next rehearsal!