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Posted: 2019-02-04

A Day of Inspiration at RNCM

Miss Hartley, Musica Kirklees Percussion Teacher, describes a day spent at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) Percussion Day with young percussionists from Musica Kirklees:

February 3, 2019

When we arrived at the RNCM we had time to look around the trade stands, we were amazed at the variety of sticks and percussion instruments; we even got to have a go on a xylosynth!

Our first session of the day was ‘Behind the Scenes’ with Trio HLK and Evelyn Glennie. The trio consists of percussionist Richard Kass, guitarist Ant Law and pianist Richard Harrold. Trio HLK deconstruct and reconstruct Jazz Standards, creating intricate new pieces with a variety of composition and improvisation techniques. In this session we learnt about layering different rhythms at more than one tempo simultaneously and how to develop rhythmic patterns. Evelyn Glennie then joined the trio and we learned about all the instruments she uses during the pieces.  One of our favourite instruments was the ‘water phone’ which could be bowed, rotated and struck with different objects to create different sounds. In this workshop pupils came up with some brilliant questions to ask Evelyn and the Trio.

For our second session we were incredibly lucky to have our own private African Drumming workshop with percussionist Mike Simpson. In the workshop we learned about the history and cultural context of the djembe and the role of the master drummer. We all got to play a djembe and worked together on a piece of traditional music which included; call and response patterns, bass, tone and slap hits, signals and a few of us even got to play a solo!

We then stopped to have tea in the RNCM café, this is when Evelyn Glennie appeared and we were very fortunate to meet her, some of us even got our sticks and programmes signed!

Our final session was the big concert at the end of the RNCM Day of Percussion. In this concert Trio HLK and Evelyn Glennie performed several pieces together and as individuals. We really enjoyed the drum solo performed by Richard Kass in the piece ‘DUX’.  A big Highlight of the concert was Evelyn Glennie introducing us to a new percussion instrument the ‘Halo.’ This instrument looked a bit like a spaceship and made some incredible sounds. Evelyn played a solo piece on the Halo along to a backing track; it was amazing to hear the Halo in action!

All the pupils and teachers had an amazing day at the RNCM and we are all feeling very inspired! We can’t wait to go back!