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  • Writer's pictureWill Sharland

June 2023

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

June has been another rather busy month in the life of old Wilmslow Will. I had all of my deadlines for RNCM due midway through the month and I had plenty of work that I still needed to do to have them finished. On top of this, I had several other commitments at the same time which led to the start of June being a very lively time in the life of I, myself and me. One of the first things I was busy with was completing the vocal arrangements for the community chorus for the Into The Woods production being put on at RNCM. This took a little longer than I anticipated but it was a worthwhile experience. My arrangements were complimented by the musical director of the production, who said I had gone ‘above and beyond’ what I was required to do. It was nice feedback as I genuinely felt that if anything I had done the bare minimum. I was told I could sit in at any of the Into The Woods rehearsals if I so wanted. Toward the end of June, I attended one of the rehearsals which was a useful experience as I got to meet some interesting contacts involved in the production who might be able to help me when I get my own musical performed.

Not long after I handed in these vocal arrangements, I had a gig with Tutor Trust playing at their annual networking event at the Christie’s Bistro. I had recorded half an hour of lounge music which I repeated three times in total (I hope no one noticed). While this played, I improvised some bass, guitar and keyboard material over them so it sounded a little different each time. It was quite fun, and I felt like a big shot playing in front of several hundred people, even if none of them really paid that much attention to me. That said, I did get some kind words said to me by various people who were there and I felt that I represented myself as an artist quite well. It was also my first professional music gig and as such, I was paid £150 (I would have done it for a tenner but I wouldn’t let on) for the event! I also got lots of great photos and videos taken of me at the gig which was perfect as I needed some new ones for my website and social media.

Speaking of my website, updating my website was one of the main tasks I had to do with regard to one of my modules for RNCM, the Freelance Musician module. This module involved submitting a 5000 word portfolio of work demonstrating my knowledge and experience of working as a freelance musician (I have attached my completed portfolio as a pdf to this blog post if anyone would like to read it for some ungodly reason). As part of this module, I completely updated my website (as the three of you who read this blog might have noticed) and I much prefer the design for it now. It’s much more welcoming and colourful, and it is (at the time of writing) actually up to date. There are still some improvements I would like to make to it, but I am awaiting feedback from my tutor concerning how to best improve it. There were also many other tasks I needed to do for this module (as can be seen in the portfolio) including (funnily enough) this blog which I have successfully updated each month now this year. Though this portfolio is handed in, I still have a viva voce in the beginning of July for it (where I am on a panel and I have to justify what I have done). Another student told me that this was not too bad, and I am fairly confident with what I have done so I am not concerned.

On top of this work, I also had to complete three arrangements for the Arrangement module at RNCM. I had left this fairly last minute but I was quite proud of what I had done. I stayed up all of the previous night (except for one hour of sleep between 3-4am) to get the work done in time but I felt that I had gotten all of the arrangements I submitted to a reasonable standard. Unfortunately, whoever marked it as RNCM, did not feel the same for I got 53/100 for it. I was not expecting a distinction, but I was expecting more than just a hardly qualifying pass so this was quite a blow. I was certain that I was marked too harshly for it, but that was just my ego. I spoke with some other students who had done the same assignment and they said that they had scored quite highly, maybe I’m just not a great arranger. It was quite tough to see that I did not get a great grade, I even thought about dropping out of RNCM briefly, but that passed and I am now keen to improve. I asked for some further feedback as I was hardly given anything and I had a meeting with Adam Gorb, who taught the arrangement module, and he gave me some very useful feedback about the work I did which helped me understand why it was marked how it was. It’s hard to hear negative feedback about work you have done, particularly when you feel that you have given it your all, but it’s important to learn from it and not be too dispirited by it.

Soon I will be completely finished with year one of my masters at RNCM. It is unbelievable to think that it has been almost a year since this masters began. I am extremely thankful to have another year ahead of me for I have learned a lot this year and in many ways it has been a useful practice year where hopefully I have made all of my mistakes. This coming year will be the one I will really get stuck into, I will take on as much work as I can and be involved with as many opportunities as I can. Sure I will be overloaded, but it’s one year and it will be the one where I will make it or break it. I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to pursue my dreams, I have to make the most of it!

After I had submitted my last deadline for RNCM this year I took a little time to relax, which was much needed, though as usual when I don’t have much to do, I start feeling bored and wanting to move onto a new project. That said, I have more than enough work to keep me busy over summer, I am just a terrible procrastinator and I have really enjoyed sitting around and playing Xbox these last few weeks. That said, I have been productive with certain things such as when I met up with Charlotte Naylor toward the end of the month, who I had worked with before on the Rosamond Prize, and I recorded her on a demo for my musical. I am also getting in touch with some other singers to get their voices recorded on the demo as well. My goal, by the end of the summer, is to have the musical completely finished as well as to have a good demo (or two) to help attract people to the musical which I am planning to get performed next year. I am feeling confident that I can get this done, but it is a huge undertaking to do all of this and I will really need to buckle down over the summer and for year two if I am to get this all done. I also plan to finish a piano piece I am working, begin an orchestral work, and also to finish some of the songs from my album and then upload them online. A busy summer to say the least!

I also applied for a volunteering opportunity at the Royal Exchange Theatre but they got back to me saying that the opportunity wasn’t live yet but that it would become live in the autumn. I also emailed Jennifer Redmond from the BBC Philharmonic about the interview we had several months ago and the potential to work for the BBC over this summer. She said that they would be unable to give me any work but she gave me some tickets to see BBC Philharmonic as a thank you for the interview. With regard to the work that I do have lined up, I have been practicing sight reading bass guitar most days for the production with BYMT I am involved with in August, which has been going well. I have kept track of my progress and I am significantly quicker than I used to be. Another interesting thing about this production is that someone I used to know from my undergrad years ago at the University of Nottingham is the one arranging it. Small world.

In other life news, Beth and I finally went to get her engagement ring refit. I collected it from the jeweller toward the end of June and it is still slightly too big so we will be taking it to get refit again. They did a very nice job cleaning it though, which made the ring look brand new, which is nice considering the ring is sixty years old (it was the engagement ring my grandad bought for my grandma). I also went to Wales on a walking holiday with some friends. We all walked up Snowdon during what was practically a storm which I found exhilarating. I was looking forward to seeing the view from the top (as the other two times I have been up Snowdon I have been unable to see anything) but unfortunately this trip was no different as the storm would not relent. The weather, rather typically, did begin to clear on the descent which was frustrating but it was nice to see some of the beautiful scenery at least. We all got rather pissed that night and then left the wonky looking cottage we were all staying in early the next day which was a bit tough. At the very end of the month, I went for drinks with some of the people who were on my course (all of whom are leaving this year). It was a nice farewell drink, though many of them are staying in Manchester so it is unlikely I will not see them again. Though it is sad they are leaving, hopefully this will encourage me to push myself to go out and meet more people next year.

One thing which has been a little annoying was that I was meant to start tutoring midway through June but the school that I have been assigned to has been terrible at organising it all so the start date has been pushed back until July (may still be pushed back again) which has meant that I have lost out on nearly a thousand pounds so far. It has been nice to have more free time, but I would sooner have worked and earned this money. In any case, I have tried to use some of this additional free time productively by going to the gym (for instance) and I am now currently heavier than I have been for years. I have not lost any fat, but I seem to have gained a fair bit of muscle so I just feel big at the moment. With this, and the moustache which I now have, I feel like I’m giving off a bit of a Victorian strongman look, which I will probably look back and cringe at, but for the moment it feels fresh.

That’s about does her for June, see you next month!

Freelance Musician Project Submission
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