GUEST POST: Outside your comfort zone, an idea so profound

Euan Murdoch is travelling Around the World in 60 Days meeting some inspiring people and asking them to share their music stories. Clarinettist, Jessie Grimes of the UK’s Jacquin Trio tells us about her experience with Music Live Now…


Jessie Grimes, clarinettist of Jacquin Trio and emerging artist at Live Music Now

Jessie Grimes, clarinettist of Jacquin Trio and emerging artist at Live Music Now

As an emerging artist, Live Music Now has given me a huge opportunity to develop both as a performer and as a communicator. Within my trio The Jacquin Trio (www.jacquintrio.com) we have performed in a vast array of different situations, from retirement homes to schools for children with very special needs, to formal concert platforms.

I have learnt a lot about the use of energy as a performer, that you must endeavour to perform with the same amount of energy in a retirement home where all the residents are asleep and at a high pressure recital. Working particularly with people with dementia has taught me a lot about the power of music. Even when every other mental faculty has begun to disintegrate, music provides a way in for people who are trapped either physically or mentally. This idea is so profound and helps to reassure me that what I am doing may indeed have some impact on the wider community, and that it is not just about me sitting in my self absorbed practice room world!

Working as a musician in residence in Watergate School has been a massive learning experience for me. It has given me such joy to watch certain students flourish with the experience of regular music sessions, and it has given me a great deal of confidence in my communication skills.

This kind of work sometimes feels far removed from the concert platform, but so many of the skills garnered through Live Music Now add a wealth of energy and confidence to ‘proper’ or ‘formal’ performances. For example, if faced with a very small audience in a large hall, we try to remember the level of energy needed to liven up a retirement home, or if a mobile phone or a crying baby disrupts a slow movement in a recital, we can remember how we managed to keep playing when a rather large autistic student made a bee-line for me and pulled my hair mid piece!

I couldn’t recommend more highly to other musicians to consider working outside their comfort zone in different situations outside of the concert hall. It can only improve the work you do on stage!

– Jessie, 11.04.13

Jacquin Trio. Jessie Grimes - Clarinet  |  Charis Cheung - Piano |  Zoë Matthews - Viola

Jacquin Trio. Jessie Grimes – Clarinet | Charis Cheung – Piano | Zoë Matthews – Viola

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