Singing Softly To Your Guitar

Today I finished a song that came to me a few months ago in a dream. I can still recall it vividly. Musical dreams don’t happen to me very often so when they do occur I make sure that I do my best to capture it raw, unfiltered and with as much detail as I possibly can. This dream was in a room that looked like a shared dormitory in a hostel. The room was very bright and sunny with yellow walls. I think the carpets were burnt orange and the bedding was white. There were sets of pine bunk beds and I was relaxing on the top of one of them when I heard somebody singing from the bottom bunk. The songs felt so familiar and in my dream I knew them all and had done for years. I peered over the top of the bunk and saw that it was none other than Paul McCartney quietly strumming and singing some of his most loved songs, or so it felt. I couldn’t actually remember what he was playing once I woke up but I felt compelled to write what I could remember into a song.

I recorded it roughly on the piano and played what I had to Steve Christie who lent an encouraging ear and proceeded to add the bridge section, complete with lyrics. I knew that I wanted it to be played on guitar but I don’t have any knowledge of the instrument (my guitar skills extend to being able to play Smelly Cat from the TV series Friends, badly). I asked my friend, musician and fellow school mum, Rosanna Wellsted if she would mind learning and playing this song for me. I was delighted that she accepted the challenge and she helped me to translate my piano voicings to guitar. A couple of after school sessions of working on it (whilst our children played next door, quietened by Rosanna’s expert supply of snacks) and we had it exactly as I had imagined it sounding.

Last week we invaded Rosanna’s home with some mobile studio equipment and had a wonderful evening recording the song. It was edited and mixed today at Vintage Keys Studio. It’s been a real pleasure crafting this one from start to finish. It will definitely be appearing on my acoustic album of originals that I am steadily building but until then it’s available for you to listen to on my Soundcloud page.

Louisa Revolta
Music lessons - Working Smart

Work smarter, not harder. I’m sure you have heard this phrase before. But here it is in action. Work with your instrumental teacher to double the potential of the pieces you are studying. This advice is particularly relevant for children between 14 and 18 years of age. During GCSE music, students will be asked to prepare performance pieces as a part of attaining their qualification. My advice is that they should choose a piece that belongs to the syllabus of the exam board that they are following for their practical music examination.

Last year I had a student who was studying for her A level in music. She had chosen to sing for her final performance recital which needed to last 20 minutes. With some careful planning we chose pieces that not only did she enjoy but also belonged to the Rockschool Grade 8 Female Vocals syllabus. I have coached people through performance examinations using ABRSM, LCM and more recently RSL awards, Rockschool. All exams ask the candidate to prepare three pieces (four for ABRSM grade 6 and above) and also to perform a selection of supporting tests. My student was able to use the same three pieces for both her A level and a practical music exam which carries UCAS points for university. And we all know, points make prizes…

Taken from https://www.rslawards.com/about-us/ucas-points/

Taken from https://www.rslawards.com/about-us/ucas-points/

To put this into context, an A* grade at A level is currently worth 56 points whist the closest comparison to a distinction at grade 8 is a C grade at A level which will award you 32 points. The cost of entering for a grade 8 for all the exam boards is in the region of £95. Well worth the extra points if you can afford to do so.

So with some careful forward planning and good syllabus knowledge from your instrumental teacher, you should be able to achieve an extra music qualification when studying for GCSE and A level without even breaking a sweat.

Louisa Revolta