When I was in France, my winters were all about learning songs for the next wedding season, rehearsing with SouthWest every other Monday, and teaching a few students. The first gig of the year was in May, at the earliest.
It’s different this year.
Last Thursday morning, I played piano at a primary school assembly. This was arranged through a performing arts school in Melton Mowbray, to introduce piano lessons to the school. It’s the third assembly I’ve played and usually several students sign up.
That afternoon, I had a phone call from the guitarist in the Rolling Stones tribute band I played with last year. He asked if I could play with them the following day at Butlin’s in Somerset? Of course, I said yes!
Which meant I had to familiarise myself with the set list again – and find sounds for all the songs. By the end of the day, I was a bit frazzled. (Note to self: One day is not a lot of notice.)
On Friday morning, I got up early to go through the songs again. There would not be a rehearsal – or even a sound check – with the band that night. At lunchtime, the guitarist picked me up. We met the van near Birmingham, and went to Somerset, arriving at about 7.00pm.
We had our own dressing room – where the set list was rearranged – and had 15 minutes to set up before showtime. (We were the second of three tribute bands on that night, in a venue that can hold thousands. Another few bands were playing in another venue nearby – it’s a big deal down there!)
The show went really well. The frontman put on an excellent show and the crowd loved it.
On Saturday, after another early start, the van took us back to the car and I was brought home.
I had just enough time to go through a set list for a new Moody Blues tribute band that was meeting for its first rehearsal near Stansted Airport on Sunday…
So, it was an early(ish) start again, to run through a couple of challenging left-hand bits before hitting the road yesterday morning. We rehearsed from 12.00 until 4.00, then had a bit of a chat before I came back to Leicester, where I’m based.
Now I’ve just got time to write this quick blog post and trim the recording from yesterday’s session so I can send it to everyone, before going to teach this afternoon…
Schools 2 and 3
At lunchtime, I’m in a primary school near Melton. I was there for the first time, last Monday. I have five students, mostly beginners. I do 20-minute lessons back to back and have to find the next student before the next lesson each time. It’s quite intense.
Then, I have enough time to drive to the performing arts school, where I have students from 4.00 until 7.30. A mix of beginners and more advanced students, here. I’ve been teaching them for several weeks now, so it’s more relaxed.
So this is life at the moment. Quite a lot busier than it would have been in France. It isn’t like this every week, but it has the possibility of being like this, obviously. It just occurred to me, it hasn’t even been a week.
That’s just five days!