King’s Lynn Music Society: Harp recital

Xenia Horne, harpist, will be playing on Wednesday 20th October 2021 at 7.30pm
King’s Lynn Town Hall
Visitors welcome, suggested donation of £10 at the door.
Free to under 18s, students in full time education and
those with membership affiliated to FRMS
More information on www.klmusicsoc.org.uk

We are back in September again!

West Norfolk Music Centre is planning to return to individual lessons and groups at Springwood High School this autumn, starting on Saturday 18 September. New members always welcome, whether you’re an experienced player, returning to music or a complete beginner.

Come along on 18 September, or contact us beforehand to book your lessons and choose your groups!

Autumn groups: West Norfolk Music Centre waives fees

The Trustees of West Norfolk Music Centre have decided to waive all group membership fees this term, and to invite members to make donations instead.

At this time of uncertainty, we cannot be sure that our groups will continue to run for the whole term. We are monitoring legislation and guidance, and the local situation, closely and we will continue decide, week to week, whether we can and should remain open.

We also recognise that we cannot offer the full Music Centre experience this term, with limited numbers and equipment, social distancing, and no refreshments or breaks for socialising. In terms of economic impact, some members may be affected more than others, and we do not want to exclude members who are facing uncertainty in their income or jobs at this time.

Music Centre remains in a strong financial position, thanks to the generosity of the legacy of Michael Janson and Varuni Roberts, and we are therefore in a position to waive our usual charges this term. However, there are still costs involved in running the groups (rent, staff, teachers), and we will be without some of our usual sources of income (refreshments, concert tickets), so we are inviting members to contribute to our ongoing costs if they can.

Members who take individual lessons are eligible for free group membership as usual, and lesson fees are currently reduced for those taking lessons online or at home.

We are currently working towards registration with HMRC, so as to allow us to claim Gift Aid on donations, but in the meantime donations via PayPal Giving Fund are eligible for Gift Aid.

19 May: String Workshop – book now

West Norfolk Music Centre is proposing an evening workshop for string players, supported by players from the European Union Chamber Orchestra. The proposed date is 19 May 2020, 6pm to 8.30pm in King’s Lynn. The workshop will go ahead if we receive provisional bookings from enough players.

The workshop is intended for intermediate-level players (approx. Grade 4+), to provide an opportunity to play in an ensemble and to develop skills and confidence. The event should be particularly suitable for children; adult learners or returners are welcome too.

We are asking for provisional bookings now, so that we can confirm the event. We are aiming to put together a small string orchestra, roughly as follows:

12 violins (6 to play 1st violin, 6 to play 2nd violin)
4 violas
6 cellos
2 double basses

We expect to make a small charge, which for children will not exceed £10. The majority of the cost of the workshop will be covered by West Norfolk Music Centre.

Please contact us by email to conrad@wnmc.org.uk

Love your music stand

A Valentine message for your music stand, and for ours at Music Centre. With a little TLC, you and your stand could be best of friends for years, even decades.

At Music Centre, we use the classic design of folding stand. This type of stand is light and compact, and it can meet the needs of most musicians most of the time. Follow a few basic rules, and our stands — and your own if you have one — will be happy. The stand in our photos is 28 years old and still going strong!

1. Big ears up, little ears down

The top part of the stand looks like it can fold in two ways — and, if you force it, it will. Folding the stand the wrong way is the most common cause of permanent damage.

The stand is designed to fold just one way. Do it wrong and the stand will bend.

Here’s the right way and the wrong way:

2. Not too tight!

The second most common cause of damage is tightening the screws too much. If you do this, you will eventually strip the threads (so the screw won’t work at all) or you will crush the tubes (making it difficult or impossible to slide them into each other).

If the screw doesn’t seem to grip enough, try cleaning the upright tube with a damp cloth, or with a bit of rubbing alcohol to remove grease.

3. Get the legs right

The legs of the stand should be opened so that they are at an angle of roughly 45 degrees to the ground. Too steep and the stand will become unstable and fall over. Too shallow and the stand will not support its own weight (and it will sink to the ground.

4. Support the stand from behind

It is best to rotate the music desk (the top of the stand) so that one of the legs sticks straight out behind the stand. If you do this, the stand is less likely to fall over backwards when you load it with music.

 

 

Musicians: protect your hearing

As musicians, we generally rely on our hearing — to monitor what we’re playing, to keep in tune and to keep in time with others. Not to mention, of course, the pleasure from listening to others.

But can we rely on always being able to hear as well as we can now? As we age, our hearing does become less keen, and this is part of a natural process. But we can also damage our hearing, through exposure to noise, and this damage may be irreversible.


While as musicians we might not think of our own efforts as ‘noise’ (or maybe we would!) but exposure to high levels of sound and/or exposure for long periods can cause permanent damage. There have been a number of high-profile cases where professional musicians have suffered severe hearing loss — not just amongst those playing amplified music but also amongst orchestral musicians.

West Norfolk Music Centre can now offer its members the opportunity to purchase earplugs which are specially designed for musicians. Unlike general-purpose earplugs, they reduce the volume of the music while keeping the sound as natural as possible.

We would encourage all members to consider whether they would benefit from hearing protection. In particular, those who play drums and percussion, and those who are exposed to louder instruments (do you sit in front of the trombones in the orchestra or band?) are encouraged to try ear plugs. Or, if you attend loud amplified concerts or gigs, try them — if you’ve ever had the ‘ringing in the ears’ sensation after a gig, it’s a sign of hearing damage.

Ask at our desk, and we can explain what is available — for less than the cost of a single music lesson.

Time for a new pencil?

Whether you’re playing in one of our groups or taking one-to-one lessons, one tool is essential: the pencil. Without it, how will you remember the valuable information your group leader or conductor has given you, or the suggestions your teacher has made? And in your own private practice sessions, when you work out the solution to a problem, do you make a note?

Whether it’s fingerings, bowings, breathing, or sticking, sometimes we just have to make our own marks on the printed music. Without them, you could earn the (dubious) distinction of being the person who plays that big chord as a solo — while everyone else is silent!

And if you need a pencil, you also need an eraser, because your first idea (or the conductor’s first idea) might not be the one that works. It’s much easier if that eraser is on the end of the pencil and not somewhere else (in your instrument case/music folder/coat pocket).

When it comes to the eternal question ‘2B or not 2B’, it probably doesn’t matter that much, but a soft dark pencil (which makes a legible mark without pressing hard and leaving an indentation) is better than a medium HB or hard pencil. Remember, unless it’s your own part, someone else might want to remove your markings when you’re finished with it.

We now have good quality 4B pencils, which are ideal for marking up music, for sale at our desk, with or without removable eraser caps.

Soloists concert Saturday 9 February

Come and join us for our soloists’ concert on Saturday 9 February at St John’s Church, The Walks, King’s Lynn. This is a short, informal afternoon concert, with a wide range of music played by young (and some not so young!) soloists.

We run these concerts to give amateur players a chance to share their love of music with others, and they are open to musicians of any age, working at any exam grade or none.

Free entry for all, refreshments will be available.

If you want to play but you’ve missed out this time, contact us and sign up for our next concert in May.