Last night, I organised the first East Dulwich Amateur Music Group at my piano studio on Barry Road, SE22.
The night was an extremely enjoyable mixture of performances from beginners to Fellowship Diploma level – and everything inbetween. A little bit of wine helped ease the nerves for some performers that had never played in public before! A total of 9 performers and 1 observer convened in a friendly, welcome atmosphere to perform current repertoire. Some performers gave us some brief history of their pieces and playing career. Claudia, our most advanced performer, was quizzed about her daily practice schedule in preparation for her second Fellowship Diploma – she practises 2 to 3 hours a day when she gets home from work!
Here is Frances Wilson‘s review of the evening along with the videos of the night’s performances. Congratulations to everyone who performed and I will organise another event in March. Email if you would like to participate in the next event. We’ve love to have some singers and instrumentalists too!
Last night I drove across south London to East Dulwich to participate in an amateur piano group organised by my friend and colleague Lorraine Liyanage of SE22 Piano School. The drive was an adventure in itself, as I don’t often drive at night, nor do I venture far out of my comfort zone in the leafy suburbs of south-west London. The sat nav got me to Lorraine’s house in good time and without mishap, and I joined a group of adult amateur pianists for an evening of shared music-making, wine and canapés. We played a varied selection of repertoire, including music by Brahms, Messiaen, Prokofiev, Rameau and Gershwin. The standard was mixed: one lady had been learning for just under a year, while another was preparing for her second Fellowship diploma. The overriding feeling was that everyone was there because they loved to play the piano – and to hear the piano being played.
There were some wobbles, attributable to nerves, and the occasional declaration “Oh I played this so much better at home!”, but everyone took something useful and enjoyable from the event, and it proved once again my feeling that it performing, whether in an informal setting such as Lorraine’s piano room at The SE22 Piano School, or in a proper recital space, is a crucial part of one’s life as a musician, professional or amateur. For one, playing for others endorses all the lonely hours of work we put in and puts the music “out there” for scrutiny and appraisal.
The rush of adrenaline that comes with the anxiety of performing often forces one to raise one’s game and play better, and interesting things can happen to one’s music when played before an audience which may not occur during practice. It is also important to experience the difference between practice and performance, and a performance such as last night can inform one’s practising in the days after. Lorraine also filmed everyone’s performance, which provided some useful food for thought afterwards.
Lorraine also treated us to a performance of Rameau’s La Poule on her new ‘toy’, a spinet, a charming instrument that sits neatly in the bay window of her piano room.
It was a very enjoyable event, encouraging and inspiring (I heard some new repertoire, including a Rachmaninov transcription of Bach’s famous Prelude from the Partita in E for solo violin), and I would definite attend another event. I would also like to set up a similar group for amateur pianists in Teddington. For more information about upcoming piano events in south-east London, please see Lorraine’s blog. Meanwhile, here is a selection of some of the performances from last night:
Claudia playing Prokofiev – Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 83 III. Precipitato. I love Claudia’s description of this piece. You really can hear the German tanks advancing on Moscow!
Peter Gosling and Lorraine Liyanage playing Dvorak – Slavonic Dance no.8 (duet)
Natalie playing Gershwin – It Ain’t Necessarily So
Carla playing Niagara Falls:
Peter playing Brahms Intermezzo in C, op.118 & Messiaen – La Colombe
Jan playing Gershwin – It Ain’t Necessarily So
Jonathan playing Suite de Rejouissance – Daquin & Men’s Dance – Elias Davidsson
Claudia playing Prelude from the Partita in E BWV 1006 (Bach arr. Rachmaninoff)
I will also be arranging a termly group for my younger students. If you would like to attend, get in touch and I will send more information.