I like this picture, taken a few weeks ago, of these trees which, though clearly all-but-uprooted at some time, have nevertheless carried on growing and lifting themselves up. It's not the usual 'bursting into life' Spring image but feels right for April 2021. Truly - onwards and upwards!
Online singing and lessons have become the norm and rewarding in themselves rather than a substitute. I am planning the next lot of online masterclasses - in May - and trying to include as many female artists and songwriters as possible. I have spent the last few weeks thinking seriously about how I can change my practice as a teacher to actively promote women's music. I had a proper look at the syllabus of the exam board I usually teach and it was worse than I suspected. Out of 246 songs on the 'Classical' Grade 8 list, for example, less than 10 female composers were represented. I have started a dialogue with the exam board and won't be giving up on it, hoping to effect some meaningful change. I asked several people to give me some suggested composers but my list isn't that long yet, so if any of you have suggestions to make, please email me email@example.com and I'll keep the pressure up. Or feel free to badger ABRSM and Trinity College London yourself!
I have also resolved to make much more space in my life for Stretch & Sing and other workshops that I really enjoy, and that I feel benefit me, and others, physically and mentally. Becca Poremba and I spent a glorious afternoon up on the moors last week with a couple of previous Stretch & Sing participants, filming a video to promote our workshops, both 'in the space' and online. There was something so wonderful about our relaxation session, lying literally under the trees with birdsong in our ears. Singing and yoga are excellent friends and partners and I practice both every single day. Please look up our new instagram account - @stretchsing. You'll see photos of our trip into the wilds of Northumberland (although someone has put up a swing!).
Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope it brings you joy. And Chocolate!!