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  • Writer's pictureWill Sharland

September 2023

I’ve always considered myself a bit of a fall girl. I see myself in another reality being the protagonist in a Hallmark movie, drinking pumpkin spiced lattes while spinning in a city park as I toss leaves that have fallen onto the ground into the air. There is something about the Autumn that just taps into my inner soy boy, the music I listen to gets completely taken over by The Cure, Slowdive and the Cocteau Twins as I imagine that I am in some coming of age movie set in some mid-western American state with these bands providing the soundtrack. Alas I am a twenty six year old struggling musician who lives in Rusholme Manchester, and unfortunately this blog details my life as old Wilmslow Will. That said, September has been an eventful month in my actual life so if you stick around reader you might find yourself somewhat entertained!


The month began strong with some nice hot weather, which had for the most part evaded August and July. I made the most of the Indian summer by going away with my fiancee to the Lake District for several nights which was lovely. I also went to Denmark for a couple of days with my grandad (a separate blog post to come concerning that) to see the Tollund Man for some very sentimental reasons. After this last bit of sunshine had passed, the month began to feel a lot more autumnal and my inner fall girl quaked with pumpkin joy.


Prior to starting back at the RNCM to finish my masters in musical composition, I was fairly productive. I was working more on my musical and making some good progress on a piano piece that I had to finish composing midway through the month for a piano workshop taking place next year. I realised, unfortunately, that I will be away at my friends wedding in India so I will miss my piece being performed (yeah I know it’s a very first world problem). Nonetheless, I was assured that a recording would be taken of the piece when it is performed by several of the students. I submitted the piano piece prior to getting some very helpful feedback which was a shame as the piece that will be performed will be less good than what I have now improved it to be. Even so, hearing the Sibelius playback of my new and improved piano piece still scratches the itch.


As you (the two people who read this blog) might have guessed, I have now returned to RNCM for the second and final year of my masters. At the time of writing (30/09) I am feeling extremely positive about it. I have hopefully made all of my major mistakes in my first year and now I am ready to get stuck in and make plenty of minor mistakes in this final year. I have applied to write for a piano workshop (as mentioned), a big band (the RNCM Off-Beat Lab), the RNCM orchestra, I have also been asked to write for a chamber choir for a concert in November, and I am also making good headway with my musical. I have managed to get out there and meet many new students and represent myself well (or as best as I can). Unfortunately I caught Covid half way through freshers week, so I was out of action for a few days. I managed to do some work whilst I was sick, but mostly I just recovered with my fiancee (who also had Covid). During this time of sickness we watched pretty much ever Pixar film which was lovely all things considered. Since feeling better, I have yet again thrown myself into what has been an exhausting yet well worth experience of getting involved as much as I can at the RNCM.


Outside of course related work, I have also been busy with many other musical related things as well. Several days before starting freshers week, I went to a networking event at a venue called Band On The Wall which was very helpful. I managed to learn a lot and make some great contacts outside of RNCM. It made me think more about the kind of career I can carve out of the music industry and how I will need to up the grind from here on if I am to be successful. That is why I have taken the professional placement module at RNCM this year where I will hopefully get some real experience working in the industry. I have so far applied to numerous potential opportunities, however I have not so far found something. One potential opportunity that I am currently holding out for would be with the BBC Philharmonic. They offer several different placements and they are all related to the kind of work I would like to do. Thankfully I already have a contact at BBC Philharmonic who I helped with some work earlier in the year. She in exchange gave me several free tickets to see the BBC Philharmonic which I went to see the last night of September with my fiancee and her parents. The orchestra played Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony (one of my favourites) among some other pieces and it was a truly phenomenal performance. I was hoping to bump into my contact and thank her for the tickets but I could not find her so I just sent her an email thanking her instead.

Outside of music, the main notable thing that I have done is start a podcast with my flatmate. It is quite a terrible podcast which will not go anywhere, but it is fun to do and I find it useful to record myself speaking as currently being recorded is a phobia of mine which I need to get over. We have so far recorded two episodes and they are all over the place involving no consistency with the subject matter or the tone. That said, we are looking to do more (possibly one a week) and invite guests on. I stole the idea from my partner who is planning to also start a podcast (which I funnily enough will be recording) in October. I am trying as many different things as I can right now as I feel like this last year at RNCM is a very important one where I will need to take advantage of the free time I have to get involved with as many opportunities as I can as well as accomplish the following:


  • Find a job related to what I would like to do after the end of my course.

  • Achieve a distinction overall in my masters.

  • Finally have my musical performed.

  • Expand my portfolio so I am in a greater position to apply for freelance music related work.

  • Further build up my online presence.

Normally I would also have a physical goal such as complete a half-marathon, but I estimate that I am going to be so busy that I will need to prioritise my music work above all else for the moment. That said I am going to resume tutoring with Tutor Trust soon which I expect to start doing in November (I was hoping to start earlier but the assignments got delayed again). Let’s see how I am doing this time next month. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen au revoir!

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