I’m really happy to announce that the application to the Arts Council to develop my creative practice has been successful. I’ll be working on my Hurdy-gurdy playing and developing a new body of work. I’ll be working with some of the best Hurdy-gurdy players in the world to develop my skills, refine technique and musicality.
It will take my Hurdy-gurdy playing to a standard that enables me to tour as a soloist performing music that I have composed, laying solid foundations for the development of new solo and ensemble work in unusual and exciting contexts. I will grow a professional European touring and support network to help me achieve this.
I will be mentored by the recognised leading players from the global Hurdy-gurdy community over a year to develop: playing skills; contemporary performance technique; composition; exploration of traditional and contemporary repertory; the use of new technology; looping and effects; recording techniques; professional performance opportunities; a unique musical voice.
For each experience I will write and record at least one piece of music that reflects and internalises the learning gained. I will document techniques taught on film. I will share the story of my musical development as a soloist over the year on a website. I will perform short solo pieces at various gatherings during the process concluding with a solo show.
This will be a life-changing opportunity to develop and refine my solo practice so that I can learn from the best, compose new work and reach new audiences. When I first learnt to play the Hurdy-gurdy, 33 years ago, opportunities to meet with other players were very limited. Now there are more platforms to meet and study performance techniques and repertory with leading exponents of the instrument across Europe on a one to one basis and in group settings. The activity will take place over a year allowing me to digest, internalise and institute these new techniques and music. I will be building my international professional network by meeting and talking with players and promoters.
I will be raising my public profile as a player by sharing my experiences with an online audience through my website and social media. These activities will raise my status as a player and create opportunities for new performance and recording to take place. The process will allow me to develop the skills, knowledge, technique, confidence, flexibility and resilience to be able to work as a soloist in many musical contexts. To demonstrate learning and gain feedback I will present a solo show. I will record and showcase new compositions along the way online using my website, You-tube and Face Book and also at specially-selected events that feature new acoustic music, including festival appearances and concerts.
After the development phase is complete, I intend to record an album of my compositions for Hurdy-gurdy and tour it internationally.