Come see me , Ned Smith , Robyn and the bar stewards and Sam Castell Ward , Thursday 19th October 7-10pm FREE at Vinyl Deptford , 4 Tanners Hill .
Last night I headed out to the Village Underground to see Girlpool.
I really liked the asthetic of their first EP and the songs ,
wasn't so fussed on the two subsquent albums as I felt they were all the same place whereas the EP had had quite distinct songs who's lyrics made me feel.
last time they played london was in 2015 on a tuesday at scala , but I was at a big band rehersal ,
the duo of bass and guitar now have a band of guitar ( Lauren) Drums ( Ross) and Synth/sax ( Josh)
Bit they did do some songs just as a duo.
Their support act was Ian Sweet who fired her band not long before her european tour , and has just had a album out.
Ian was impressive in some ways
she made the gig feel intimate and had just try'd monster munch.
Considering her rehersals would of been with a band I thought she did well on her own.
I was glad I went but I provably wouldnt see girlpool again their set was not very varied in tone
I liked their mini " dance with me " cover but they never got to the dance with me line
I was hoping to learn somthing about stage craft in a duo I respect what they do but I'm doing somthing else
I met David Bloor he had a synthasiser
for a explanation it was really cool to hear David play and hear him talk about it
he made a snare from white noise
When Mark Williams MBE of Heart n Soul ( www.heartnsoul.co.uk) agreed I could have a 20 minute slot at the unbelievable stage to do what I wanted he could not of known how life changing it would be.
In some respects my life has been a bit rought , I was borm 3 months early , the consultant said utbwas touch and go I'd survive , I was later diagnosed with 10 disabilities ,I was brought up by amazing parents but in a isolated village where I was bullied , I went to a high school where I was bullied ,and teachers were confused by me, I started writing songs very early probably aged 7 or 8 , they were always a bit weird and one of my music teachers once turned his nose up at them , I struggled learning music and wrote melodic pink floyd esque keyboard layden music ,
I was kicked out out of school with no GCSE's
Then in 2014 I was a amazing drummer with a lovely smile and warm happy energy which touched the audience, His name is Mark turns out he has a degree in teaching children with severe learning disabilities so new about Autism .
The next day I went to a music shop raving about Mark they sold me a jazz book
Mark encouraged me and I joined a beginner big band, then I began learning scales by ear , and understanding the rules which act as a guide when learning , suddenly not relaying on written materials made all the difference.
Mark gave me great advice on many things but most of all he took me seriously .
I went to a benefit gig for the Calais jungle with people fro the big band and saw James ( sit down , laid , nothing but love) Trumpeter Andy Diagram in his duo Spaceheads , suddenly it all made sense
Disaster struck last June when we had a change of tutor and I'm kind of hard to teach , so there I was again alone.
So I wrote my own EP ( extended play) , and sent it too Andy Diagram . Andy loved it and offered to mix and master it ,
and Mark Williams gave me a gig .
That was almost a year ago I have a band Robyn Steward and the Hatonauts ( 5 trumpets and a keyboard) a trio ( Robyn and the bar steward's) a duo Jazz Biscuits , and I play solo
I've lost count of the gigs I've done since then but it must be getting on for 20
and my life has changed so much
in april Heart N Soul pledged £2000 in support to help me as a artist which is why my EP was released digitally beacuse creative associate Richard Phonix td me what the questions in the forn meant .
Now there is potentionay a opportunity to go to South by southwest a huge music festival and confernce in texas , to speak on a panel to help open doors for disabled artists . If you can spare 5 minutes please vote and share at http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/76105
Improvisation is really important to me.
When I learnt music is schlool I wasn't that great at it , when I had lessons evan now when it was centered on reading I struggled .
I learnt to improvise by understanding these 5 concepts
1 Improvisation is a conversation
you can think of this like a call and response . Play any 3 notes you like think about what those notes might say if your instrument was telling a story or a object or a flower or a animal etc and then thing who your going to be to respond and what that response might be
and thats it
2 Use scales and modes
I used the circle of fifths as a guide and learnt all my major , harmonic minor and melodic minor scales it seems like a lot but really its just patterns dictated by rules
the scales help me understand chprd symbols , what key I am in and how music works It made greatest sense to me when ai started learning without reading notes.
3 devlop ideas
I might come up with a pattern and repeat the pattern starting on differnt notes.
4 Something my trunpet teacher taught me if I play a note that I think doesn't quite fit go up a semitone
5 practice ! Most people don't learn to improvise overnight it is a learning process.
I grew up in a small village in suffolk. I visted my parents this weekend who still live there.
I was reminded of all the lessons I had , had there ( on the cornet- a smaller. version of the trumpet) , and how very little of it stuck . It often seemed to me that we just learnt how to get through the current tune , I struggled to quantise and genralise the infomation . If I want to learn somthing I have to focus in on it .
for example the circle of fifths . which is in one way a way to underarand the relashonships between minor and major scales ,
I learnt fron Tony Douglas at the firat big band I was in to learn my scales by ear. This means rather then having it writtern down in front of me I listen for right and wrong notes,
I can now play all of them
Looking through the books I had as a kid ,it seems I did learn 5 or so scales but I was given no context .
not wishing to be too technical but major scales have 8 notes they are tones apart except 3-4 and 7-8 which are semitones apart.
If you look at a piano or keyboard you will see that E and F and B and C don't have black keys joining them yo the keys to their right, this is beacuse they are semitones apart which is the smallest division on a piano avaliable.
knowing this , having the visual referance and being able to hear the differnce between a semitone and a tone made all the differnce
fron being able to learn a few in 8 years to learn about 40 in 18 months
Beacuse I underatand how they are built if I were to forget I could juaf rabuild my knowledge .
Not everyone will learn like I do ,
but I think it's important to know how you learn and not to give up hope as I did if you need a differnt stratagy
After 10 gigs , 2 of which have had a working guitar. I have decdied we need somthing reliable
Andrew , Rob and I met in a studio today, we had a lot of fun .
I am reminded that Andrew had his first gig in his life last August. Andrew has amazong musical ideas and well trained ears .
I wish someone had given him a chance before me beacuse he is such a huge asset to us.
I would not be able to cope with a normal job!
I work long hours but I fit it around how I feel , for example yesterday it took me all day to formulate 415 words for my next book ( On Autism and menstruation) , however once this was done I did another 10 pages.
Working in creative industries means you have to be able to be creative about applying your skills to earn a living , and put money into projects which will take time to return any money.
one of the things I am passionate about is educating people about Autism to make the world a better place for Autistic and Non Autistic people alike.
I incoperate my creative skills by devloping activites for children and adults to help them understand Autism . but also I play music , my trunpet with a Harmon mute makes what is normally thought of aa a loud instrument and therefore inaccessible to Autistic people who are hypersentive to sound into a quiet calming instrument.
Today I'm giving an assembly on Autism and then teaching 4 groups of 7 year olds and then doing a mood concert in the playground
I moved house , now I live on a busy road and can hear trains rattle past my window. I love all the differnt sounds I find it inspiring