Leaving School

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Tomorrow is my last day at Birmingham Conservatoire. I have decided that it’s time to step outside the academic calendar which has shaped the rhythm of my life since the age of five, and join the real world. I’ve done ten years at the Conservatoire, and it’s been a fun gig, but sooner or later you need a change.

The decision has been a long time brewing – though, the bit that took thought wasn’t whether to move on from my current role, but what to move on to, and when.

Personal considerations had big impact: to get a different academic job would entail relocating, and after my very itinerant 20s (my present house was my 11th address in 12 years when I moved in), I’ve rather come to value staying somewhere long enough to get to know my neighbours. And starting Magenta was a significant statement of commitment to the locality.

But more significantly (to me, at least), another academic job would be the obvious route to take. Doing what I’ve done for the last 15 years isn’t what you’d call easy, but it’s rarely taken me out of my comfort zone. Large institutions may eat your soul with all their bureaucracy, but they offer safety and structure and procedures, and they protect you from having to decide what to do and when to do it. But I’ve been mentoring postgraduate musicians through their transitions into the world of freelance musicians for some years now, and they’ve got me intrigued with the possibilities. (If nothing else, I’d rather like to know if my advice has been any good!)

So, how am I going to spend my time from now on ? I hear you ask. (At least, that’s what everyone always seems to ask – if you had a different question, that would be refreshing.) Well, the side menus of this site will give you quite a clue – I’ve been doing as much arranging and choral clinical work as I could physically manage alongside the day job for some time now, and indeed I’ve had to turn down some fun projects simply because I couldn’t fit them in. So I’m rather hoping that the fun opportunities continue to turn up now that I’ll be much more available to take them on :-)

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