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  • Writer's pictureWill Sharland

July 2023

It is hard to believe that it was almost 40 degrees celsius in Manchester this time last year for this July has been one of the rainiest I can remember. I must say though that I’m glad that we have so far avoided that totally unbearable and unrelenting heat that we had last July, but this rain has still been pretty grim. This all said, much of the rest of the world seems to have been scorched by unprecedented heatwaves which have led to several of the hottest days ever recorded taking place this month. Guess we’re somewhat lucky to have avoided that, though it might have been nice to have something other than rain. Still, despite the miserable weather and the miserable state of the world, I had a pretty un-miserable July when all was said and done.

With regard to my music, my first year at RNCM has officially ended and I am (supposedly) a free man for the summer. I am unsure how much free time I will have as I have plenty of work to be getting on with but I’ve made some time and I will make some time for doing nothing at all whilst feeling totally guilt free about doing so. The bits I had left to do with regard to RNCM involved going to the Into The Woods dress rehearsal the day of the show. I could not stay for the concert, but it was useful to see the rehearsal and see what worked and what did not and also to find out who were good people involved in musical theatre at RNCM. I am glad that I was involved with all of it in the limited capacity I was as I managed to make some good contacts and gain some good experience from all of it. Following on from the production I also had a meeting with Fiona Stuart, who helped organise the show, which went really well. I was just expecting her to give me some advise about my musical but she actually seemed very on board with helping me put on the musical next year. She said that we could potentially workshop the show later this year and possibly get it produced next year. The first step is to have the full musical finished by the start of my second year at RNCM (midway through September). As a result of this, I began working more intensely on my musical and I have so far made some good progress. It might be a little tight, but I can certainly imagine having it all finished by the end of the summer if I am clever about it (I have said this every summer for ten years mind you).

In other news related to my musical, I recorded several demos with a singer called Keir from RNCM. He was an awesome singer and a really nice guy. With the help of him and another singer called Charlotte, I have several pretty good demos for my musical now (though they will all have to be mixed and mastered before I can show them to anyone). I also finally heard back concerning the funding I had applied for from the Stephen Oliver Award for my musical and unfortunately I was not successful. I did not expect to get this funding so I was not too disappointed, I was more upset that when I requested feedback they said that they would not give me any (wa wa waaaa). A friend of mine pointed out a good opportunity for me to apply for a workshop opportunity at the Lowry in Salford Quays where they could potentially put on several scenes from my show. I will definitely be applying for this over August as it would be excellent to actually stage some of my show.

Outside of my musical, there was a masterclass with the composer Anna Meredith at RNCM that I went to. She was really nice and she gave me a good answer when I asked her opinion on diluting your musical sound to appease other people (she said don’t do that). I sometimes feel like a bit of a musical chameleon which is why I am trying to find a more distinct style. I have began describing myself as a narrative composer (which is vague enough but narrow enough to give old Will some kind of a niche). Following on from this masterclass, I went to her concert and I bought her vinyl and she signed it (I did not get a picture but I should have done). Apparently she will be teaching again next year so I’ll have to catch her again then.

I finally got my mark back for the 5000 word portfolio I did for the Freelance Musician module and it was 67/100. This was undoubtably a better score than what I got for arrangement (53/100) but I was hoping for a slightly better mark. I have requested further feedback, though I have not heard anything back thus far except some feedback relating to things I could do for my website and social media (which I have now updated). Overall I am on 60/100 for this year. I was not expecting a distinction overall this year, but I was expecting a mark higher than what I currently have. It is not impossible at this point for me to get a distinction overall, especially as next year is weighted a lot more. I think if I learn from my mistakes that I can achieve a distinction, I will always put more emphasis on the extra curricular work I do though.

Outside of RNCM, I’ve been busy in a musical capacity mostly through the bass practice I have been doing. I was sent out the first bits of music for Harry & Greta from BYMT for the production I am playing in over the first week of August in Ipswich. I think they could have found a bass player with better sight reading than myself but I have improved significantly compared to how I was at the start of the summer. You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes to grow (this year has felt like I have been constantly out my comfort zone so I must be doing something right (I hope to be awful tall some day)).

Outside of music I had quite a nice month in my personal life. I had more free time but less money than I expected because the tutoring work I had lined up for me all through July fell through. I’ve missed out on a lot of money and useful experience as a result, but the extra free time was nice in a lot of ways. The month began with a few personal commitments, including giving a friend from my course (Jihwan - an amazing American international composition student at RNCM) a tour of Manchester as I promised. I can’t say he particularly enjoyed the tour of the city, but I like to think he enjoyed my company and it was nice to hang out with him more. Only a few days after this tour, I went to the Lake District with Beth, my mum and her partner which was nice though I felt that I ate and drank enough to put me off booze and food for the summer. I managed to get back into a good fitness routine after this trip and I cut down on my alcohol and gaming consumption for a period as I felt like I really had to get on with my work. I also began planning a family trip to Denmark this September and I also started looking more into flights for India in January for my friends wedding. Possibly the best news I have is that I finally got the engagement ring refit (again) for Beth and now she can wear it. I had food poisoning in the middle of the month which was horrible and it took me a full week to recover. I did not do anything that productive in that week which was maybe not a terrible thing, though I did design and order 100 business cards. I’m not convinced the design is particularly amazing, but they look and feel professional enough and I look forward to handing them out in the future.

That’s all for July, see you soon folks.

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