I’m now halfway through my CoDI Mentor sessions with Sally Beamish. Over the past month I’ve been meeting her over Skype. Sally is a composer and a viola player, so it has been invaluable for me to learn from her (as I’m a composer and performer too). She has given me so much advice about sustaining a career in music when composition, performing and teaching are all involved.
We have discussed the pieces that I am currently working on and she has really helped me to balance writing different pieces at once efficiently, without sacrificing musical creativity. It has been great to be able to share ideas with her and it has really given me creative focus in these very uncertain times. We have also talked about how to break down compositional tasks into more manageable chunks using the Pomodoro Technique (a time management tool). It’s also been so interesting to learn about how to create large scale instrumentations by first exploring the ideas in smaller-scale instrumentations, such as a trio.
Sally has also given me lots of inspiring listening to explore, and I’m currently really enjoying discovering Prokofiev’s piano sonatas, the Bartok string quartets and the Walton string quartet in A minor. It is so great to be able to share the often strange and difficult process of composing with someone so experienced who understands!
I’m really looking forward to the rest of my mentoring sessions with Sally as I have found them so inspiring. Through our discussions, she is opening my mind to many different potential ways of working and has helped me to unlock a lot of musical ‘blocks’.