Live YouTube Concert and life update.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I did a live ‘concert’ on YouTube last Sunday evening. I finished playing feeling rather pleased with how it had gone, only when I watched it back I realised that the sound quality was nowhere near what I’d like it to be:

So have a watch if you like, but chances are I’ll switch this video to private shortly as I can definitely do better than this. Thing is, I don’t know where the issue is, was it the internet connection? Was it the microphone on my laptop? I’m not tech-savvy enough (yet) to be able to livestream from my digital camera. Maybe someone who knows about these things can explain it to me in words of one syllable?

Currently, I have a couple of options, scrap the idea of a livestream and just record a video on my camera to upload later, still in a concert format, but not live, or just go back to videos of individual pieces. What do you reckon? I’d love some feedback on this.

No gigs to report this week (thanks, January) but plenty of teaching is happening, which is good. Have you ever thought about having harp or piano lessons? If yes and you live in or around Manchester, please get in touch and we’ll have a chat about harp or piano lessons.

In other news, the house hunt continues, and to be completely honest, it’s been an emotional week. We put an offer on a house and it wasn’t accepted, by which point I’d already decided how I wanted to decorate it and how I wanted to arrange my new music room:

But we’re having to leave it and have found a couple of other houses that we’re very interested in, so I will try to remain detached and just see them as piles of bricks until I have a set of keys in my hand.

I’m learning a lot about patience in this process. We thought we’d found our home last July but it wasn’t meant to be. Now I’m glad that house fell through because we’ll end up somewhere much better for us.

Moving on, I’m currently in training for a 10K race in March. I signed up for it last year thinking it’ll be a great deadline to make me get out and do some running over winter. Ha. I’ve never been ankle-deep in mud so many times in a single month than I have this January, but my partner Tim (of Chorlton Personal Training) has devised a programme for me and I’m pretty much sticking to it. It’s hard but I just think to myself that the harder the training runs feel, the easier the actual 10K will feel, right?!

I think I’m becoming delusional.

So on all these training runs, I have to admit I was getting pretty sick of my ‘Gym’ playlist on Spotify – although do feel free to check it out – it’s all songs I love but by now I’ve just heard them too many times. In a quest for something different to listen to, I’ve signed up for Audible and downloaded my first audiobook – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I’ve almost finished it and am loving listening to it while I’m out and about. If you have audible (or if you just love books) please leave me some recommendations that I can add to my wishlist.

As ever, thanks for reading and don’t forget to give me a follow on instagram, facebook, twitter & youtube! I’m currently halfway through a 30 day practice challenge on instagram so I’m posting a little video each day of what I’m working on. Maybe I’ll catch you there?

Let’s chat soon,

A

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Secret Live Stream – and a blog update: things are changing.

As I may have mentioned already, I’ll be doing a short live concert on Sunday, 28th January at 5pm, from my youtube channel. I’ve invested a fair amount of time in my channel over 2017 and I’m almost at 100 subscribers. I’ve promised myself that when I reach that milestone, I’m going to buy a camera with a front-facing screen so I can actually see what the heck I’m doing when I’m recording harp videos for you. I believe that subscribers get a notification when I go live, so hit subscribe to be reminded when the concert begins and hopefully I’ll see you there. I’ll be playing some fun stuff, a bit of Jazz, a super-easy set of pieces that are suitable for any level, and some popular tunes that everyone knows, which are very popular wedding choices.

Anyway, bearing in mind that I’d never actually been live on youtube before, I thought it would be best to get some practise in. So, I did a ‘secret’ live stream, without telling anyone, just to get a feel for how it all works. It felt pretty weird at first, especially when the number of viewers goes from zero to one, and you realise that someone out there is actually taking the time to watch you! I enjoyed the immediacy of it though, and the fact that the internet allows you to reach a (potentially) global audience. Spreading live music has to be a good thing – see my post on How we can all support the Arts.

Moving on from YouTube, I’d like to get back to posting regularly here on my website, and to my email subscribers (hi there!) I’m proud of the archive of posts I’ve written since 2012 (have a browse down the right hand side of the page and pick a month to see what I was up to). My aim is to go back to posting weekly about my freelancing adventures, and give you a glimpse behind the scenes of the realities of being self-employed. There are exciting times around the corner as Tim and I get closer to buying our house together, and I’ll be able to bring you updates on that. I’ve always wanted a music room/office of my own where I can go to practise and do my admin, then close the door when I’ve finished and have it separate from the rest of the living space – and I am within touching distance of that dream.

As ever I’d like to thank you for reading, and watching if you’re enjoying the harp videos on my youtube channel. If you’d like to subscribe to my blog and get these posts in your inbox, just pop your name and email address into the boxes at the top right of this page. It’d be great to connect with you in that way.

Let’s chat soon,

A

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Winter Update

It’s time for another seasonal update. I’m back in Manchester after a very varied and busy December. December is always a hectic time and 2017 was no different. I had three concerts that included Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, two of these were delightfully close to where my sister Joanne lives, so it was lovely to spend some time with her. I accompanied her singing some solo carols for these concerts and for the York Annual Community Carol Concert. Here we are in the Parish Church of Hampton-in-Arden.

Playing for the Annual Community Carol Concert was a very special day. My dad was taking part for the 39th and final time, having been the musical director for many, many years. The concert has been a mainstay of my Christmas for my whole life and it always marked the start of Christmas. Happy memories of dad getting an audience of over a thousand to stand up and sit down several times in quick succession (“stand when you sing!!”) and telling us all off for not singing with enough gusto… When I was a child my school choir was asked to take part, I’ve played for the concert with my harp quartet CLOUDS and then last month Joanne and I contributed to the effort – in front of 1300 people and on York Hospital Radio. I am so proud of what my dad has done for the concert and the great causes it supports. You can read more about the concert here.

Following the Community Carols (the very next day in fact), it was time to fly to Norway for some much-needed R&R. Tim and I spent a snowy Christmas with family, we ate all the food and I drank all the wine. I tried skiing for the first time ever:

 

Following Norway it was time to spend the New Year with my family in York. We somehow managed to cram pretty much my whole family (over thirty of us) into my parents’ house for the annual party, so that was a great chance to catch up and enjoy ourselves.

As for Tim and myself, I mentioned in the last seasonal update that we’re house-hunting, and… we still are. Apparently these things take a while! We’ve looked at some gorgeous houses but we haven’t found the right one just yet. Fingers crossed it’ll happen soon.

Looking to the future now, plenty of weddings are already in the diary for this summer, but I do have availability so if you’d like to chat about hiring a Manchester harpist, please do get in touch. You can also subscribe to my youtube channel or follow me on twitter or instagram – where I’m currently taking part in a #30daysofpractice challenge.

As ever, you are more than welcome to come over and visit me on Patreon and check out what’s going on over there.

I think that’s all from me for now. I hope you all had wonderful Christmases and New Years, let’s catch up soon yea?

Thanks for reading!

Ax

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