2018 Adventures

This is the time that we often look back at all that’s happened over the year and look forward to the next. We’ve had a lot of adventures in 2018.

Early in the year we had the amazing experience of being Artists in Residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts. While staying there we had access to all the percussion equipment we could need, a studio just for us, fitness facilities, nature all around us and the food, oh the food! It was such an inspiring experience and we met wonderful artists and musicians while there that continue to inspire and support us.

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In March we performed our concert Woodcuts in Saskatoon and then headed over to Windsor, ON to perform at Melissa’s Alma Mater the University of Windsor for their Alumni Concert. There we performed Shelley Marwood’s piece Dialogues written for us. Special update: Shelley has officially earned the title of Doctor of Composition, congratulations to her!

Early June we premiered Kendra Harder’s work Cat Fight at the Strata New Music Festival as well as some chamber works of Annette Brosin. Since then Kendra has been awarded the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes for her work The Book of Faces, congratulations Kendra.

In June we took to the road and traveled to British Columbia to perform in three different venues in Langley, Victoria and Vancouver. It was a long trip but good to experience different venues and perform in new places in Canada.

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In July with Kendra and Shelley we ventured off to ClarinetFest 2018 in Belgium where we collectively had our international premieres. It was an awesome experience where we met many people from Canada as well as around the world.

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In August we relocated to Victoria, British Columbia.

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September brought us back to Ontario where we performed our Concert Far and Wide in Toronto as well as at the University of Waterloo.

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We were thrilled in December to perform a free improvisation session for Sofa Sessions Series. They have a new session every month featuring musicians from Victoria.

A whirlwind of a year with a lot of great experiences. We are working on some wonderful projects in the new year. I hope you will join us for our next adventure.

Lessons!

Have you ever wanted to get better at a piece of music? Want better tone? Want a challenge? Want better marks in music class? Always wanted to learn an instrument?

There are so many reasons that you might want music lessons and in addition to the reasons listed above they are fun! You can take a private lesson and have the teacher streamline your learning to achieve your specific goals. If you have a friend that you would like to learn with, you can arrange for a group lesson. If you are a classroom music teacher you can have a specialist come into your classroom and work with your students.

Even if you live in a remote community you can contact a teacher to make arrangement for an online lesson!

Lessons are such a good way to make progress in your music education. If you know a musician offer them a gift of a music lesson this season, no wrapping required!

Latest Updates!

It’s been pretty crazy the last few months so we have fallen behind on our updates, so he’s a quick catch up! We have relocated to Victoria, British Columbia and are excited for new collaborations and concerts in the area.

At the end of September we had the pleasure of performing at Array Space in Toronto and at the University of Waterloo for their noon hour concert series. We performed an all Canadian line up and both venues had fantastic people in the audience including some alumni from University of Windsor. Thanks for coming out and giving your support, we really appreciate it. Check out a few pictures:

Next month Melissa will be joining DieMahler Ensemble for their concert “Vive la France!” on Saturday November 24th at 2:30 at St. Mary’s Church 1701 Elgin Road, Oak Bay, Victoria BC, if you’re in the area come check it out!

#MusicMonday Some of the Benefits of Playing Small Ensembles

I love playing all kinds of music. Large ensembles, solos, new music, Romantic, Classical and of course chamber music. Small ensembles are great for a variety of reasons and here are just a few.

It's Fun!

It seems that no matter what small instrument combination you have someone has written a piece for it. So whoever you decide to spend extended periods of time with playing music you will be able to find something. You can find a friend or a few and put together an ensemble. Make some cookies, choose who will host this round of rehearsal and start playing. 

Practice Accountability

Sometimes practicing can be challenging but just like going to the gym is easier with a buddy so can practicing. If you have a set rehearsal then not only are you scheduling a practice together but you will be preparing for that rehearsal. It will help you keep a schedule going during times of fewer performances (like summer). 

Challenge!

I have found some challenging chamber music over the years and you can too. You can use the Canadian Music Centre to search for your instrumentation and borrow or purchase music from them. I love getting a stack of music to read through, it can improve your sight reading too! Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Maybe a particular passage is very awkward on your instrument, here's a chance to make it sound easy.

Tuning

Small ensembles are great to work on tuning. With only a few people to listen to you can really pinpoint which notes are out and get a good sense of where your instrument sits. You can also ask your ensemble members which notes tend to be out for them and work together to make everyone sound great!

Scheduling

Fewer people means fewer schedule conflicts. People are busy and it can be really hard to find a time that works well for everyone. With just a few people you have more opportunities. 

Learning

I have learned so much from ensemble members about their instrument and what is challenging for them. Smaller ensembles let you ask questions that you don't get to ask in large ensembles. You can also get feedback if your dynamic is consistent throughout your registers, does this note stick out in this passage, is my tone consistent. You also learn a lot about a person when working in a small group like this. 

What other benefits can you think of? Do you love/hate playing in small ensembles? Leave a comment!

#MusicMonday Playing (Less) Hurt

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I hope you are one of the lucky musicians who never have to deal with a serious injury. It is very scary and sometimes the injury is invisible and professionals are not sure how to help you. This book by Janet Horvath will not only help you once you have an injury but also will give ways to avoid injury in the first place. You might also find her website helpful.

Musicians are athletes too, we just use smaller muscle groups. Stay healthy and stay happy and stay playing!

Back from #ClarinetFest2018

We are back from a wonderful experience in Belgium full of performances, lectures, relationship building, good food, and of course our own performance. Thank you to everyone we met and especially to Shelley Marwood and Kendra Harder for sharing their work and this experience with us. It was inspiring and exciting to see so many clarinetists and clarinet ensembles including a 40 bass clarinet strong clarinet choir premiere a new set of works composed for the festival! 

We're now working on getting back into our regular routine and will have more concerts and posts coming. We are hoping to take advantage of more opportunities like this one in the future! In the meantime check out these pictures:

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Taken during our performance of Dialogues: Oblivious

Taken during our performance of Dialogues: Oblivious

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