Setting the date

So you’ve chosen your venue and the wheels are starting to turn. The next biggie when it comes to decision making is of course the date. After picking your venue, picking the concert date has to be the next most important choice you will make. But what should you think about before naming the day?

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PLUS AND MINUS EQUALS- Why organise your own concert

Putting on your own concert is hard work. Full stop and underscored. But what makes it hard, and why bother?

The biggest challenge I have faced in being my own mini concert organiser is that I’m not just that. The reality is that there are so many different hats to be worn that sometimes it does feel like your hat-wearing head is about to explode.

Location scout, venue booker, emailer and phone call maker, graphic designer, marketer, mailing list collator, press release writer, media agent, accountant, social media wiz, website builder and ticketing manager.

I’ve got 4 concerts coming up between August and November and for most of the last month I have spent a least an hour a day working on admin related to the concerts. Often more than an hour.


And we haven’t even got to the music.

Or little niceties like what to wear.


Nothing beats the joy and satisfaction of sharing music you love and have especially chosen with an appreciative audience in a fabulous venue. The end goal is amazing, and worth every minute of blood, sweat and tears that you as an organiser and performer put in.

It’s so often the case in creative endeavours that the minuses can seemingly outweigh the pluses, or at least, in the long run, prove less memorable!


What stops you from taking the plunge and organising your own concert?

Ways to Scale

Last week I had an amazing time as harp tutor for the Australian Youth Orchestra's 'Young Symphonists' programme in Toowoomba. Those kids are seriously good. It was a week filled with hard work, great music and, well, just plain old fashioned fun.

On one of the mornings it was my turn to take the ‘warm up’ for the woodwind, brass, percussion and harp. Yep- a great combination if ever there was one.

By this stage of the week everyone was running the risk of injury from so much music making so the brief was to try to find something non-playing related to get everyone going for the day.

So to begin with I put on Yakety Saks (a.k.a the Benny Hill music) and got the kids to throw cotton wool balls at each other for 2 minutes.

They loved it.

Then my erstwhile colleague, the percussion tutor, had everyone clapping and stamping in ever increasing complexities of rhythm.

And finally we all got together and came up with a list of ways to play a scale. Some of those ways were instrument specific, others were more general. By the end of the session we had nearly 30 ways to play a scale.

Scales boring? Only if you let them be.

So here is just some of the ways you can play a scale. Feel free to add your own!

·         Major

·         Harmonic minor

·         Melodic minor

·         Modal

·         Pentatonic

·         Blues

·         Dotted rhythm eg Long Short Long Short (dotted quaver/semiquaver)

·         Dotted rhythm S L S L

·         Triplets

·         Contrary motion

·         Similar motion

·         Different fingerings

·         Different accents on different fingers

·         Offset rhythm in 3rds, 6ths, octaves

·         Ascending

·         Descending

·         Forte

·         Piano

·         Crescendo then decrescendo

·         Decrescendo the crescendo

·         Parallel 3rds, 6ths, octaves

·         Different keys

·         Modulating

·         Dividing between the hands

·         Hands separate

·         Hands together

·         Scale snippets

·         Scale snippets adding on one note at a time

·         Multiple octaves

·         Individual octaves throughout the range of the instrument

·         With your eyes shut!