Another jam-packed month, and I’m now halfway through my ArtStart year. This monthly reflection coincides with finishing up in the UK, so I’ve been both concluding activities here and planning for the next lot in the second half on the year.
With some sadness, I finished my course of lessons with Carla Rees last week. It has been great to work on some low flute fundamentals with Carla, and to hear how she has created a career for herself through performing and other musical activites. We spent quite a bit of time in the last lesson working on bass flute. I’m playing bass for a piece at the SoundSCAPE Festival next week, and was keen to get some practice time in ahead of the festival itself. I haven’t played bass in about a year now, and was finding it rather frustrating – surely I could make a fuller sound in the low register! Strong embouchure, lots of air but slow air. Hopefully some more time at SoundSCAPE will solve this.
I’m flying to Italy tomorrow morning for SoundSCAPE, and have been getting excited. I’m playing four new works by composers at the festival, along with some chamber music and solo pieces, and will be giving a presentation on new music in Australia as well. The next two weeks will certainly be busy. I’m hoping to have some time for daily blogs, but in a more creative vein than those I wrote at Trevor’s. Stay tuned!
On Tuesday, I finished my Practical Financial Management for Small Businesses course, rounding out with a class on taxation. While this and week nine on VAT have been rather UK-specific, I think it will be easy enough to transfer the concepts to Australia (or anywhere else for that matter!). I won’t miss the class, but it was well-taught and I feel much better equipped to deal with money and budgetary matters in a chamber ensemble or small arts organisation in the future.
Then comes organisation for my trip to the U.S. in August. I’ve booked flights to Washington D.C. for the NFA Convention, which starts on August 13th. The program came out a few days ago online, and I’m amazed at how many events are running concurrently! Each days runs from 8am to midnight, with up to seven or eight concurrent events across concerts, lectures, workshops and repertoire reading sessions. I feel like I’m going to need to allocate an afternoon to sitting down with a highlighter and working out where to go. Then I’m heading to New York for a week, where I’m having some lessons. This part of the trip is not yet fully sorted, and I need to spend some more time following up with flautists and Harvestworks, where I’m hoping to take an electronics class. I’m definitely having a lesson with Robert Dick, and will be preparing some of his Flying Lessons to work on.
Finally, I’ve also sat myself down and made a start on Max MSP. The software has a number of segments, with Max being programming and MSP being the audio component that I’m interested in. I rather optimistically thought that I could just dive into MSP, but couldn’t many any sense whatsoever of the first tutorial! So I’ve decided to start at the very beginning with Max tutorial 1, and am now up to no. 10. The language itself is quite user-friendly, and I’m finding it easy to understand the processes and the reason behind it. However, it feels like there’s a lot to do before I can start working on programming for flute with electronics. The challenge will be starting to build my own patches and remember what all the various objects do!
At the halfway point of my ArtStart grant I feel pretty on top of things. While I haven’t yet undertaken the two major projects of the year, one is imminent and the other is feeling less daunting the more planning I do. I’m on track to tick off everything on the list, though some things like Max are definitely a long-term project. It was sad to hear this month that the Australia Council for the Arts will no longer be offering the ArtStart program due to government funding cuts. It will be sorely missed on the Australian arts scene.