February ArtStart Reflection

Not a huge amount of ArtStart activity has happened this month, mostly due to the flute studio course still being my top priority. Bits and pieces are coming along though:

– Having submitted my Bang on a Can application in January, I’ve spent this month patiently waiting on a response while trying not to get nervous! I should hear next week, and have fingers crossed that I’ll get in. If I’m accepted, I can start organising my U.S. trip, which would be incredibly exciting. I’ve also been having a look at some other summer festival options as a backup plan.

– The other big thing on my U.S. itinerary would be attending the National Flute Association conference in August. The NFA has a myriad of different competitions at the convention, and I decided to submit my thesis for the graduate research competition. The paperwork was all due mid-Feb, and I’m happy with my submission. Dad was a wonderful help printing off the thesis itself and posting it for me – it saved trying to organise printing here!

– Having sussed out my options, I booked my Practical Financial Management for Small Business course at City University London. It goes for ten weeks and starts at the end of April, and the reviews I’ve read are all quite positive. I decided that a physical classroom once a week is much better than trying to complete something online. Though this isn’t the most exciting part of my ArtStart plan, I know that the skills will be really useful…I just need to reacquaint myself with the maths side of my brain.

– I haven’t made any progress with Max 7 since January, I keep putting it off in favour of more pressing things (preparing studies). A few weeks ago, though, a friend suggested I should go and improvise in the wood near the Dairy. I think this will be a good catalyst for starting to play with Max – starting with something a little more imaginative will remind me of what I want to achieve with this software in the first place.

– I ordered an Airturn foot pedal so I can use my iPad to read scores. Now that I’ve paid the pesky customs fee, it’s due to arrive on Thursday.

– I’ve continued to work on my website, and am becoming quite please with it (do have a look around). As well as the things you see – blog, performances page with videos etc. – I now have some things up and running in the back end as well. I can look at how many people visit, how they happen upon the site, which country they’re from. However, I don’t like the idea of treating the website as properly ‘finished’ at any point. I hope it can continue to grow as I explore different avenues of creativity, with words as well as with music.

– Finally, I’ve used ArtsHub to find and apply for some jobs here in the UK. No success yet exactly, though a theatre company (they were looking for a musician/improviser for a production) said they would keep my name on file.

Actually, that’s not too bad a list!

January ArtStart Reflection

I think it’s a good idea to write a short reflection each month on what I’ve achieved with my 2015 ArtStart grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. While my main focus for the moment is the flute studio course, I’ve already started the ball rolling with a few other things as well:

– Most importantly, I submitted my application to the Bang on a Can Summer Festival on January 15th. A trip to the US in July/August to attend the festival, take some lessons and attend the National Flute Convention was a central element of my grant proposal. I was happy with the application, but can never know who else is applying. I find out whether I’m going in early March.

– I started work on my website, which is very exciting. So far, I’ve done most of the written content and had a bit of a play around with design. My lovely friend Matt has been doing some of the trickier bits. While we’ve managed to embed a twitter feed, we’re still working on getting this blog as part of the website, as well as sorting out bits and pieces of back end design. I also need to go back over my performance videos and recordings to decide which ones I really want to put up. Rather than just making the website about my flute playing, I’m keen for it to reflect the range of things I do in music, writing and radio.

– I joined ArtsHub for the year. I put this on my application both to look at the range of arts jobs available and to have access to various resources and articles on work in the arts industry. The jobs board hasn’t been amazing so far – more targeted towards arts admin jobs – but the articles have been interesting.

– I’ve downloaded Max 7, a program which allows me to generate electronics patches. Following the Blackbirdwhich was written for my final MMus recital by the lovely Andrew Aronowicz, used Max for the electronics component, and I’m keen to use it further in creative and collaborative projects. But firstly, I need to learn how to use it… cue tutorial videos!

– I’ve looked into the small business management course I want to do following my time here in Kent. Still need to book though.

– And finally, I’ve made trips up to London to attend masterclasses and concerts. Once my budget was all planned out, I had about $120 left over, and so decided that it could support travel up to London while I’m here. While my 16-25 railcard is a big help, trains in the UK are still expensive!

So far I feel like I’m on track to complete all my ArtStart grant activities, though there is a lot of work ahead. More importantly, though, there is a lot of artistic growth to look forward to.