General

Welcome to the Twenties!

Happy New Year everyone, indeed Happy New Decade!

It's funny how we have a good ten year's warning that the next higher-level change in arbitrary articulation of time is going to happen, but when it comes along I never seem to feel quite ready for it. Fortunately, the time keeps ticking past whether I have myself organised or not, so maybe I can just carry on with what I was going to do anyway.

Still, January is the tradition time for new starts, and I have some fun projects lined up for the first part of the year. My chorus, the Telfordaires, will be running a Learn to Sing in Harmony course from next Wednesday - and there's still time to sign up if you know any guys in Shropshire or its environs who might like to join in the fun.

Signing off for the holidays...

(Is it just me, or does anyone else find it hard to type 'signing'? My fingers automatically revert to 'singing' unless I watch them very carefully indeed...)

Well, it seems very lazy of me to stop blogging again a scant 3 weeks since resuming after my autumnal hiatus, especially as I've been told off again this week for stopping while I wrote my other papers. But I do this every year, so you can't be surprised. At least I'm waiting until less than a week before Christmas this year to hang up my pencil, rather than going off gallivanting for an entire month as I did in 2017.

Another Anniversary

Ten years ago today was my last day as a full-time university lecturer. Which means I’ve been freelancing for as long as I worked at Birmingham Conservatoire. Where did all that time go? Well, we can answer that as I’ve blogged about a lot of it on the way past. I’ve spent most of it working with singers and conductors, as arranger, coach and mentor, helping them do their thing with greater confidence, skill and joy.

When I left academia, I was often asked whether I saw myself going back. To which the answer was that I didn’t know. Ten years previously I hadn’t imagined going freelance, so I really couldn’t predict how I’d feel ten years on. Now that ten years has passed, I discover that I can’t imagine myself stepping back into full-time institutional life.

Happy New Year!

So it’s time to get back in the saddle and start paying attention to the outside world again. I hope you have all had a restful break over the holiday season, with the balance of fellowship and quiet time that best suits your personality. For myself, I can’t remember the last time I spent quite so many days in a row at home without working, which is a bit of an achievement. I love what I do for a living, but I had some times during 2018 when I struggled to remember what I do when I’m not doing that.

The Christmas Post

The title is in the spirit of ‘The Christmas Song’. Other blog posts about Christmas are available, but a gratuitous definite article always makes things look more purposeful when you’ve not yet thought of a better title. (I’m not – necessarily – saying this was the songwriter’s rationale, just sharing my own process.)

Anyway, just a quick note to say that as usual I’m not planning to post over the seasonal break. I shall be aiming to get myself some more time away from screens over the holiday, and am helping you do likewise by not posting anything you might want to read. If it turns out that you actually like a little escapism from all the people and excessive good cheer, you can always indulge in a little nostalgic browsing of the archives.

Happy Birthday to Helping You Harmonise!

Floddy helping at a coaching sessionFloddy helping at a coaching sessionTen years ago I was wondering what to write in my inaugural blog post, and realising it didn’t really matter at that point as nobody at that stage knew I was writing it. This post, marking the occasion of Helping You Harmonise’s 10th birthday, makes me feel under both more and less pressure than that first one.

More, because I’m reasonably sure this one will be seen and read – it raises the stakes if what you’re doing is witnessed. Less, because I’ve learned that my policy of writing about what I find interesting and trusting that somebody else may find it interesting too usually works. Indeed, not only has blogging brought me into all kinds of interesting conversations over the years with people who share my interests, it has rewarded me with friendships with people from all over the world.

Welcome to 2018

Christmas Day selfieChristmas Day selfieHello Everyone!* Back again, did I miss anything?

Those of you who were in touch personally during the autumn will know that my absence during December was because Jonathan and I spent the month travelling round Australia. The reason I didn’t announce it here was because putting it on a public site that also displays my postal address feels a bit too much like saying, ‘Hey, good moment for burglars,’ so I choose not to differentiate in my blog between travelling unavailability and other-project-busy-ness.

Interruption of Service: Advance Notice

I will have drastically reduced availability during December 2017. I won't be available by phone, and I'll be checking my email a couple of times a week at most. (I'll tell you what I'll be doing instead, in case you're wondering, after it's all done.)

So, if you were thinking about getting in touch to book some coaching or to discuss an arrangement commission or ask about any of my other services, you either need to do so during November or wait until January.

It seemed only fair to tell you in advance, rather than just disappear without warning!

I won't be publishing regular blog posts either, but I do have an extended piece on the spike that I'll leave you to be getting on with between all your holiday season singing.

In the meantime, normal service continues throughout November.

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