Music

Weedon’s Wanderings: 16th December 2019

Sitting Pretty cover

BOOKS LIKE BUSES

You know how it is - you stand at the bus stop and nothing comes for ages, then several buses come along at once! It’s the same with my books. Here’s the second one this week: Sitting Pretty, my treatise about the importance of posture for musicians.

If you’ve known me a while, you may recall that a bad back took me off the concert circuit for quite some time. It was The Alexander Technique which sorted me out in the end. In fact, it made me better than before. I was so amazed by the power of improving my posture and use of my body when playing that I wrote this book to share the secrets. It covers many aspects from seat height to choice of specs, hand position to adjusting the music rest, and includes the powerful Alexander semi-supine exercise. 

You can preview it and/or buy it for immediate download now by clicking ...

Weedon's Wanderings: 16th December 2019

The cover

PRACTICE HANDBOOK NOW AVAILABLE HERE!

You can now purchase the Practice Handbook direct from this website by clicking here, so you can download it at once as a PDF rather than as a Kindle ebook. This makes it more versatile - you can read it on any device!

ABOUT THE BOOK

As I found to my cost, playing and practice are two very different things. Simply playing a piece over and over again is boring, and does nothing to cure bad habits and mistakes. Quite the opposite, in fact. But perfect practice is fun, efficient and produces great results!

In this book, which is fully illustrated, you'll discover (whatever your instrument) how often and how long to practice; how to improve your technique, reading and listening; co-ordination; theory knowledge; and interpretation. Penny shows you how to become your own best teacher, able to identify and correct...

Weedon’s Wanderings: 9th May 2019

SOUNDS CHEESY? IT’S TRUE!

If, like me, you listen to the radio throughout the night you may have come across the phenomenon of ‘dreamt reality’, where a news story works its way into your sleeping fantasy world. It amazes me how an item on the radio can hi-jack a dream I’m already having and join seamlessly into the tale in real time. It can have the odd effect of making me feel clairvoyant when I hear the next edition of the news after waking, and say “Wow, I dreamt that!”

Sometimes my dreams are so outlandish that I realise on waking that they can’t be reality. I had just such a dream last night. I dreamt that a team of scientists in Switzerland have been playing music to maturing Emmental cheeses. They found classics, rock and pop caused changes in the cheeses - and the changes were radically different. Then...

Weedon Weekly: 29th July 2017

Music, food and love combine

THE HAPPY HORMONE

My working weeks are so unpredictable that I've decided "Weedon Wednesdays" is a promise I will repeatedly fail to deliver. So I'm changing it to "Weedon Weekly". That is why this offering is being hatched on a Saturday!

Shakespeare said "If music be the food of love, play on!" I wonder if he realised that there was a strong scientific basis to what he wrote? Humankind would agree that good music, tasty food and falling in love are all very pleasant in their way. The interesting fact is that eating, listening to music and feeling love all have an identical effect in the body. They cause the release of dopamine, the so-called 'pleasure chemical'.

Taking the science a step further, it has been discovered that combining music with an outstanding meal or a passionate event means that the tune you were hearing at the time is 'burnt'...

Early kick-off, anyone?

A lovely venue

Can concert start times make a difference to attendance? I ask, as I've just played for the excellent society in Sutton in Ashfield. They tell me that not long ago they were down to audiences of about 40, with the future uncertain. Then they made two changes - one to the venue, moving from a church hall to a modern church, and the other to the start time, pulling it forward to 7:00pm.  Some had their doubts, but once tried this early start has proved popular. Yesterday they continued their recent trend of growing audiences, with 130 squeezed in. I'm sure audience growth leads to more audience growth - the atmosphere was terrific, and in order to get a seat at all the regulars started arriving not long after 6:00pm. The early finish meant that buses were still running, too. I've seen concerts beginning earlier from the typical 8:00pm start of my...

The sound of - silence?

Shoosh!

Here’s a thought to ponder. What is it that makes a piece of music truly thrilling? One might answer the beautiful melody line, the sumptuous harmonies, a fast and furious tempo, huge crescendos and crashing fortissimo at climaxes or even whispered pianissimo passages. But a teacher of mine once surprised me by saying that, in his opinion. it was none of those. What marked a performance out as something special was the use of silence.

When I gave him a bit of a straight look, he asked me if I ever baked a cake. Yes, I did. So what, he enquired, made the difference between a good and a bad cake? I decided it was whether it had risen or not. A fat spongy cake, light with air, was infinitely preferable to a thin, heavy lump. Precisely, he said. And silence gives the lift to a piece of music, just...

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