Great Update Mate

It’s been about four months since I’ve moved to London from the Black Forest in Germany. I’ve settled in, put up some minimal home decor, and even bought a kettle and like three teabags. I’m currently on winter break so I decided to let you all know how the past ten weeks of university went in the form of an FAQ.

Jan, how’s the music school going?

It’s going really well. I’m getting good feedback from my tutors and my classmates, got involved with a few different musical projects, started my own project, and became a student representative. But a lot of people still can’t say my name right. You’d think it’s easy. Three letters in total, one vowel. Ian? Jane? John? Jesus!

Does it rain a lot?

Not as much as you’d think.

Is it expensive in London?

YES. I had a bagel last week and according to my budget I might have another bagel next week.

How do the locals feel about the whole Brexi-

 

Do not mention that word.

Do you see the Queen a lot?

Yes, we get our morning coffee at the same Starbucks every day. She’s really chill but also really old and kinda royal to be honest.

Is music school difficult?

Yes and no. I just finished the first term of the first year, so everything we’re learning right now is very basic. But if you want to be good at what you do, you need to absolutely master all of the basics first, and that’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when it comes to technical applications on the instrument.

Isn’t music subjective? How do they grade a song?

No, it isn’t. There are a lot of things to watch out for like overall dynamics, tonality, confidence and stage presence, musicality, timing, etc. Watch the movie Whiplash.

Do cars really drive on the left side of the road?

No, that concept has been created by and for the Brits in order to make German automobile manufacturing non-competitive.

Do you have any advice for people who want to get a degree in music?

If you want to do it, then go ahead and do it. But take it seriously. Put in the hours to hone your craft, treat others with respect, be open-minded, practice hard, don’t drink too much, and develop an interest for music theory and sight reading.

Also, it’s not like you can procrastinate until the night before and then quickly write your paper, submit it, and hope you didn’t fail. It’s an instrument specific course, which means you have to actually spend time practicing with your instrument in order to develop muscle memory and fluidity. You can’t procrastinate and then show up one day before the exam and expect to play a perfect Gadd Shuffle with no prior practice. So proper time management is extremely important if you want to study music.

Did he just say music theory and sight reading? But what if I hate theory and reading?

Well, if you’re a drummer and you want to audition for a gig and the dude you’re auditioning for says, “So for the chorus we start with the dotted eighth note bass pattern and the triplet ostinato pattern on the ride with that C7 chord on top. By the way, what’s the seventh note of a C7 chord?” and you don’t know the answer, then you’ll be flat out dumped and they’ll pick the other drummer, so. Best to know your seventh chords.

Cool, I wish you all a happy holiday season and I hope to bring you guys some actual music in the near future. Alright, piece*.

 

 

 

 

*Intentional error, calm down.

I’m Going to School on an Island

For the past 11 years I’ve lived in a ridiculously small village in the quiet and beautiful Black Forest in Germany. Surrounded by old vineyards and even older cows, this little part of the world boasts breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps, wonderful forest hiking trails, elegant creeks, ancient castle ruins, and like two supermarkets.

So I thought, I want to live somewhere where there are more supermarkets.

Well, what better place to move to other than London, UK, amirite?

Jan, why would you do that? Isn’t London always wet, cold, expensive, and wet?

Yes, so let me explain.

I’ve been playing drums since I can remember. My parents were extremely tolerant of the noise I made in their basement for years. Decades, actually. In November 2015 I was playing a show in Nottingham, UK. It was an improvised set, so we just played whatever. After the show a few people approached me and asked me, “Where did you study music?”

I never said that I studied music.

So I thought to myself, “Well, what if I studied music? And where would I do that?”

I’ve always been fond of London Town. I lived close by when I was an extremely small person; that’s also where I learned how to speak English. In addition to my childlike admiration of London as a city, artists and bands such as Amy Winehouse, Queen, The Who, and even Spice Girls are from there!

I mean, come on.

Spice Girls.

It’s only a logical conclusion at this point.

After a few minutes on google I found a music school called BIMM London. I applied in late December, got a few days off work for the audition in early January, flew over and did that, and promptly got accepted into the school.

So that’s that. For the next three years, starting in September, I’ll be living there to hone my skills as a musician, connect with other artists, and make cool things for you guys.

Also, depending on how much time I’ll have to spare whilst juggling education, work, sleep, and an unlikely social life, I’ll try to keep this blog updated by posting something every once in a while. It’s therapeutic for me and hopefully not too boring for you.

I’ll have one full month to get settled in, so please let me know what I should do as a rookie in London.

Let’s keep in touch!

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