Over the last few months, we’ve observed how the music world has adapted, taking on a new role – to transport, educate, entertain- providing escapism and relief.
Here at Finchcocks, we interview our musicians: concert pianists and teachers, to find out how they’ve adapted…
Q&A with Warren Mailley-Smith and Graham Fitch
Graham, thanks for taking the time to chat to us! Firstly, what challenges have you encountered during this time?
G: Well, these have mostly been to do with the tech. It is so important for teacher and student to have strong internet connections, and good microphones (I use a Blue Yeti USB mic that is great for piano sound). But unless the audio settings are conﬁgured for music making, the sound is going to be substandard.
How have students adapted to new methods?
G: I have found all of my students have been able to adapt to online lessons without too much trouble. The ones who invest in a good microphone get the best value from lessons, because I can hear their playing in much more detail – even down to reﬁnements in pedalling.
Anything new you’ve noticed through teaching virtually?
G: My workshops on technique and practising actually work better online! Participants can be muted, meaning they can try things out on their own keyboards as we go along – something you could never do in a live workshop.
Warren, we know you have a very busy concert schedule! How has the pandemic impacted your concert and performing work?
W: Well, the immediate impact of our lockdown was a ‘tsunami’ of cancellations of concerts which had been years in the making. Very soon it became apparent that all concerts to the end of August would also need to be cancelled. However, in recent days, audiences have been allowed to return to concert venues, albeit within socially distanced parameters! So I am very much looking forward to returning to the concert halls from September.
Has this time inspired you to try new mediums/ ways of performing?
W: Absolutely yes. I turned to the possibility of live streaming and ﬁnding ways to engage my existing followers and to develop new ones. Of course this possibility has existed for many years, but very few classical musicians have ever needed or wanted to embrace this prior to Covid 19 restrictions. To my great surprise it has been an exciting and hugely enjoyable process, which has opened my eyes to a vast array of new possibilities! I have been enormously grateful to Finchcocks for your incredible support – allowing me to broadcast many of my live-streamed events from the stunning Steinway in the Recital Room, throughout lockdown.
Has it changed your relationship to music?
I’ve spent more time practising than ever before, conﬁrming my love of this wonderful instrument!
Moving forward, how do you think concerts will change?
W: I see livestreaming, in one form or other, playing an increasingly important role alongside traditional concert attendance as it provides a new way of reaching out to audiences without geographical restriction, and engaging new types of audience: for younger people who are particularly comfortable engaging with a screen for entertainment.
I have been enormously grateful to Finchcocks for your incredible support – allowing me to broadcast many of my live-streamed events from the stunning Steinway in the Recital Room, throughout lockdown.
Here at Finchcocks, our courses are up and running, complete with a new format and safety checks. More info here.