A Tribute to Menai Bridge Band

I still remember stepping over the threshold for the first time. My trombone-carrying arm shook a little as I took in the brassy smell that is typical of any band room. I’d been asked to help them out for a competition – that was a nice feeling, especially because it’s my home town.

I held my breath as I walked through the small hallway and turned into the main room, eyes searching around for somebody to put me at ease. I instantly relaxed, as there were a few people I knew. But it was more than that: open, warm smiles from complete strangers. Continue reading

Music Doesn’t Inspire Me to Write

I recently talked to somebody about my musical experiences and then, presented as a completely different aspect of my life, discussed my relationship with Creative Writing. I realised something: I rarely write about music.

I am near the end of an Open University degree: ‘Humanities with Music and Creative Writing’. My two favourite subjects are sitting side by side, and yet even there they are separate.

It seems strange that music, which is a huge part of my life, should rarely make it into my writing. I love conducting, teaching music, playing trombone, music theory, singing, playing in band… I hear so many stories, witness so many hilarious events, and know that many of them would make a thrilling read! I just don’t often write them down, apart from in my journal, and occasionally in a Facebook status. Continue reading

Crossfit: Should You Practise What You’re Good At?

People often gravitate towards the familiar; we like what we’re able to do. We all have our favourite movements at Crossfit, and playing to strengths is often a good idea. But can it go too far? Are we missing out?

When I was younger, and learning to play the piano, I always had a favourite exam piece (usually the fun jazzy one). I would play it over and over, getting faster and faster, until I knew it from memory and could probably play it backwards. It became annoying to my family, and rhythmically all-over-the-place, but that’s beside the point! The joy I had playing those pieces fluently is not to be dismissed, but I know that I was choosing the easy option. Learning my scales properly would have been a far bigger achievement, and I would have become a better player.

It’s the same with Crossfit. There is great joy in a workout that consists of movements which are within your comfort zone. But Crossfit is about ‘constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement’ – it is designed to train the whole person, not just to repeat the things we find easy. Continue reading

Too Many Interests

I have a lot of interests.

I’m not complaining; I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the variety and I know that it’s all in my life for a reason. But it does make it difficult to decide how to use my time. I’m a whole-hearted person who can’t be whole-hearted about any one thing.

When I’m at Crossfit I wanted to be fully invested in building my strength; when I’m at band I want to be fully invested in music; when I’m writing I want to be fully invested in my blog, or my book, or a poem, or a short story… Continue reading

Being Kind to Yourself

I’ve had an unusually hectic couple of weeks juggling scout music camp preparation, academic work, and commitments with family and friends. I’m out of routine and behind on a few things, and I tend to beat myself up about that. People often give the, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself,’ advice, but it’s easier said than done!

As I went into the New Year I decided to be gentler with myself and not take on more than I could handle. It was hard to do that with the busyness of last week. I didn’t have a free evening or weekend. I didn’t do any reading. I barely wrote anything. I didn’t manage to do a blog post. I was emotional and tearful.

Now I’m tired and trying to remember what ‘normal life’ is like, and how to get back to it. Instead of letting it worry me I’m doing my best to accept it and keep calm. I have to remember what I do if a friend is stressed, busy, and struggling to keep on top of everything. I try to be understanding, gentle, and feed them coffee and chocolate at regular intervals! Yet somehow it’s harder to give yourself that kind of consideration. Continue reading

Favourite Songs in 2015

Every month in 2015 I chose a favourite song and put them on a playlist – only a couple of them actually came out in 2015 and most are much older! It’s an odd mixture. Most of them now remind me of things that happened last year:

January – One of Us by ABBA

February – Knowing Me, Knowing You by ABBA

March – The Blue Danube by J. Strauss II

April – The Man With The Child In His Eyes by Kate Bush

May – Last Hope by Paramore

June – Diggin’ Up The Heart by Brandon Flowers Continue reading