I just want to let you all know that it is a-okay with me if you comment. Really. Or write e-mails? Or whatever you want to do so that I get some outside contact? Super-peachy-keen. Don't be nervous or anything.
Right, so today: first day of the workshop! Did you know that in England, people with American accents are interesting? I was the coolest kid in town until the Icelandic kids showed up. It's a good group- about twenty people, 17 of whom are women. Or, at least, only 3 of whom are men. Whatever. It turns out the Great Britain has this whole culture of outreach programs and workshops, so that when they say that they are doing "creative workshops" or whatever- people actually know what they mean. (I have used "whatever" three times so far in this post, lets try to not use it again...) We started the day with little stretches and warm up exersises, and then we got in a circle and passed claps around, then little noises, then movements, then rhythms, etc. It was actually very dalcrozian, except not with the specific intent to teach a particular musical element. Which was a little weird for me. I felt like everything should have been to a specific pulse, and with eurhythmics you wouldn't *think* of doing something without concrete phrasing to go along with it. Anyhow, next we sang a song with various parts, had a tea break and came back and introduced ourselves. There are actually five Americans (and one Mexican, three Icelandic women (one of the leaders is Icelandic), and one Portugese guy). The other four Americans are all cellists from Cleveland Institute of Music. Two are already in the program, one is auitioning this week, and the fourth was visiting one of the first two and just managed to get roped in to coming to the weekend. People seem to be kind of amazed that I just found this program online and decided to treck all the way out here for it. The cellists found out about the program from Alison Wells- who is Peabody's new director Jeff Sharkey's wife. She went to guildhall I think is what the connection is. Anyhow, the program has been around for about twenty years, though has only been degree granting for the last three. Do you see what I mean about this whole culture around it? Julliard *just* started an outreach program this year (not a degree granting one), and the only reason Peabody has one is because a student started it. Anyhow, in America it is certainly the new, hip train to be jumping on, but no one really knows much about what they are talking about yet. Or at least, that has been my impression. I, at least, don't really know what I am talking about. After lunch we did a group composition, which was actually pretty interesting. I ended up working a lot with this girl named Jo who plays the tuba since we were the lowest instruments. During our next tea break (there were a lot of tea breaks) she and I, and this guy named Andrew from Scotland, got together and compared accents. (My internal monologue has switched to a London accent, it is irritating.) After a couple of days of not really talking to Americans it was hard to come up with a particularly American sounding sentence for them to imitate. Then we broke up in to smaller groups and each did another part of the composition. My group was bass, tuba, sax, guitar, and piano. Jo and I and the three guys. The guys sort of took over everything and I made some snotty comment about being included and Sam, the guitarist said "hey, lets not make this an us-against-them sort of thing" and I was embarrassed, but my attitude improved a lot and then we actually got some good work done and Jo and I actually participated, which was good. Apparently tomorrow we are bringing all of the elements that people created today to make a larger composition. It should be interesting.
I met up with Kateri finally after the workshop had ended for the day. She is not having the best of time out here in London, it sounds like it has been difficult for a bunch of different reasons. Anyhow, both of us have our American accents back now that we have been talking to each other. I am now a little nervous now about how easy it would be to get lost and lonely next year if I end up living here. It sounds like the early music department is kind of apathetic (something that I don't think is true of the Leadership program) and disinclined to go out and try to create opportunities for themselves. Which is really unfortunate. So I am a wee bit depressed right now, but last night I was reading through the DK guide book and discovered that there is a design museum! And how neat is that?! And the V&A had a surrealist furniture exhibit on now and the clothing/fashion exhibit is actually up now unlike in 2004 where you could see in to where they were setting things up and it looked so cool but you couldn't go in. So I'm excited about that. I haven't started going to the museums yet. That'll be good.
So I think that is all for today, love you all muchly- and seriously- think about that whole commenting thing, yeah?