May 2020 – Still in Lockdown!

Picture of by Dr Andrew Padmore BEM

by Dr Andrew Padmore BEM

Choral and Orchestral Conductor | Accompanist | Singing Tutor | Examiner | Adjudicator

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Into May and still without live concerts, recitals and teaching!  Also, my invitation to have tea with Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace on 12th May has been postponed to a later date.

I think this period has given many of us time to reflect on important values,  and music has, and still is, playing a vital part in the psychological and emotional wellbeing of a large proportion of the population.

I have been preparing weekly Virtual Rehearsals for Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir and Harrogate Choral Society in order to maintain contact with the members, to keep the vocal and choral interest by weekly singing, and to learn choral repertoire.


A rest from practising can have advantages, but as the great pianist Rubinstein said: “If I miss practising for 1 day – nobody knows, if I miss 2 days – I know, and if I miss 3 days – the world knows”!     For any musician, like an athlete, the muscles have to be kept in peak condition, otherwise technical control becomes unreliable.     So, I urge you to keep practising!  Work at basic technique on a very regular basis – doing exercises (but they must be done with a sense of purpose – “Why am I doing this exercise” and “What do I aim to achieve from doing it”), and then practising repertoire from the past – enjoy revisiting the music, but always with the thoughts:  ‘how can I make this better’, and/or ‘can I interpret this in a different or more imaginative way’?    Do listen to other performers of that repertoire (YouTube and Spotify are particularly useful resources) and always listen critically, asking yourself what you like and what you don’t like about the performance, and seeing if the things you like are things that you could employ in your performance.  Also explore unfamiliar repertoire and try to learn new music.


I know that some music teaching is being done ‘online’ via skype, zoom or facetime, and to some extent it can work for instrumental teaching, but it really has very limited value for singing teaching.  I have discussed with many of my teaching colleagues around the country (mainly at universities and the major conservatoires) and decided that this would not be a satisfactory way for me to work, as I feel I could not give the same quality of tuition that I can offer in a one-to-one live situation.  So, I am looking towards a time when I can resume safely.

Perhaps after this lockdown, a new wave of creative musicmaking will result?  Live performance will become a new challenge.

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