Glastonbury 2016 Round Up

So I managed to wangle myself a ticket to Glastonbury this year and as ever it didn’t disappoint. As ever we were also three feet under in mud, but hey, it’s Glastonbury, what did we expect…

I saw some great bands, both old and new and wanted to share them with you.


I’m awarding myself a gold star as I stayed in London to vote, not that it did much good, le sigh, let’s not go there… It took 7 hours to get in, so we didn’t arrive till evening, but still, we used the time waiting in the queue to do out hair and make up so at least we looked FABULOUS for an hour at Glastonbury….


Friday started with a heavy heart at the referendum result. I decided there was nothing for it but to cover myself in glitter and go and do Power Ballad Yoga in the Greenpeace Fields. Yes, that’s a thing. It was part comedy, party yoga and very funny. There were maybe 150 people all doing it and feeling the love.

Next we went and checked out The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians with Damon Albarn on the Pyramid Stage. At that point it felt more important than ever to go and show our support for the refugees and remember we are all connected as human beings and remember that we have more in common than that which divides us. I’m not going to lie, it was a bit emotional.

Then we drank some cider (standard) and watched Hobo Jones And The Junkyard Dogs who have become a firm festival favourite band over the years. A tongue in cheek skiffle band, these three chaps know how to rock a tent!

Next up we saw our friends She Drew The Gun (SDTG) performing in the backstage bar at Theatre & Circus. SDTG won the Glastonbury emerging talent competition and played 5, yes 5 (!) times this festival, finishing off by headlining the John Peel Stage on Sunday morning, which I just missed, (arriving as they finished) because I’d been too busy dancing disco with drag queens in a backstage bar. For real. Anyway, you should definitely check out SDTG, they are destined for big things and Louisa is a top gal with a clear conscience.

Then I headed off to Bastille with my friend’s kid, Rory. Rory is 12 years old and has been to Glastonbury 10 times already. In theory I was looking after him but the reality is that I think he was looking after me. Top tips like shortcuts and “lift with your heel!” when you get stuck in the Glastonbury mud. Man! It’s so frickin sticky!!!!! Rory persuaded me to go to the front of Bastille and we got right to the front! Big thanks to the lovely Bastille fans who let us go right to the front. You made a 12 year old kid (and a 36 year old adult) very very happy. Bastille were absolutely brilliant live, with the lead singer performing superbly. It was a sunset session, so utterly gorgeous to look at. Check it out here.


After that we made a quick tour to Stormzy and Muse before heading back to sensation Seekers Stage to watch a bit of cabaret. Yes, that was all one day. No wonder I’m still tired! Over the four days I did 100,000 steps, which is equivalent to about 1,000,000 normal steps due to the sticky Glastonbury mud…. We went to the after hours area “SE Corner” which was pretty banging and danced to some breaks and I randomly bumped into a friend. Love it when that happens!

Saturday bought a backstage meeting with the lovely Jess AKA Tourettes Hero, she is a bloody legend and an inspirational and funny person through and through. Also know as ‘Biscuit Lady’, she uses her tourettes to put on a hilarious show.

Then I swung by West Holts stage, also known as the world music stage. I saw two acts I hadn’t seen before. First up was Mbongwana Star, who are a 7 piece Congalese band, very up tempo and fun. Perfect for a Saturday afternoon

They were followed by a Japanese performance art group, which are everything you might expect a Japanese performance art group to be. Flipping mental! Didn’t know where to look!! Orchestral musicians, dancers, naked dancers, people doing art. They are called Shibusashirazu Orchestra

Saturday evening was always going to be Adele. I was lucky enough to get a last minute ticket to see her at the 02 recently and she was jaw droppingly amazing. The thing that most people don’t realise if they haven’t seen her live is just how funny she is. I love her refreshing honesty and genuine approach to life. As well as being a world class singer she can also tell a cracking joke and you just want to go down the pub with her. If watching Adele on the Pyramid Stage was amazing, spare a thought for our very own trombone tutor Emma Basset who was PLAYING FOR HER! ON THE PYRAMID STAGE! What a star Emma is and we’re very very proud of her. She was playing on Skyfall, see if you can see her here….

Just as Adele was finishing we decided to hot foot it to another section of the Festival and popped up to The Park for the David Bowie tribute. It was the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra playing a live orchestral piece by the American composer Philip Glass. His “Heroes Symphony”, written in 1996 in homage to David’s 1977 album Heroes was the first classical headliner to appear at Glastonbury and was accompanied by an outstanding laser show.

We then watched a bit of cabaret, went to Block 9 for a proper Glastonbury rave up, complete with subway crashed into the building (it’s a theatre set, not real but still completely impressive). Then I got distracted by dancing drag queens.


Sunday bought some much needed sleep and a quick gig watching Mahalia, a very talented young lady (possibly only 18 years old?!) from London. Her dad played guitar with her which was so sweet. With her unique look, gorgeous voice and cracking songs, I’m sure this girl is destined for big things.
We decided to skip Coldplay and headed for an early exit and managed to avoid getting stuck in the mud in my low slung car, phew! Despite the mud (oh god the mud) it was probably my best Glastonbury yet. Fab times with fab people and a whole bunch of music and art to check out.  This is how I choose to live my life. Thanks to all the wonderful people that choose the same and make it what it is.







Exam Tips

by Becky

Well, I don’t know about you but I feel I’m full in the flow of exam season at the moment, and with it, comes it’s own unique set of challenges.

Here are my top tips to get through exams!

The Night Before:

Get an early night. Prepare your music and know what you are going to wear the next day. Girls (and boys) with long hair, either tie it back or pin if back off your face. Don’t hide behind your hair!
Wear something smart, that you feel comfortable in. This is a formal occasion and so trainers and jeans are not acceptable. You don’t have to wear your best Cinderella ballgown either. Something in between is fine.

The Morning:

Eat something that will sustain you through the rehearsal and exam time.

Tips for singers: DO NOT eat diary, chocolate, fizzy drinks or orange juice that day. Eat as much as you want afterwards but not 2 – 3 hours before the exam. They will stick to your vocal chords and make you want to clear your throat continuously.


On The Day:

Do a long slow warm up. Play your scales, exercises and pieces. Play them slower and at the correct tempo. Look over your musical knowledge and make sure you know all your keys and key signatures etc.

Remember to take your exam slip with you (sometimes your tutor has this). You will need to hand it to the examiner (with a nice cheery “Hello!”) when you go into the exam.

Remember they are human, just like you! They want to give you the very best mark possible. They are not there to trick you. Relax. Enjoy the experience of showing an appreciative audience how much you have learnt. No one enjoys watching a nervous performer, so take a few breaths to steady yourself, smile and let the music flow.

If you make a mistake – don’t worry and don’t let it put you off the rest of your exam. I guarantee you the mistake you made (that feels like the worst mistake in the world) was MUCH smaller than you felt it was. The trick is to hold your nerve and not let it put you off. You can’t control what has just happened, but you can choose to decide how it affects your future. Don’t let it put you off!

Exam situations can be nervous and we have many of them during our lifetime. The trick is not to let the fear overwhelm you. At the end of the day, they are just exams! Nothing bad is going to happen if it doesn’t go well! So work hard, practice lots and go in to the exam with a smile on your face and enjoy the experience, confident you have done all the preparation you could do.

Songs of Praise – BBC Junior Choir Of The Year

Huge congratulations to Blackheath Prep Choir who made it into the semi-finals of the BBC Choir Of The year 2016.

We have 5 students at the academy who sing in the choir; Amity, Evie, Matthew, Harriet and Amber and you can watch their glorious faces singing here on BBC iPlayer!


Music Education Expo 2016

I went to the Music Education Expo at Olympia on 26th February 2016. As usual we spent the day wandering around the 50+ stands covering all things music and went to a couple of lectures, I particularly liked one lecture on encouraging positive behaviour during lessons.

Below is my round up of the best bits:

Coach House Pianos – a piano showroom in Wales. Family run, they have over 250 pianos for you to try. Sure, it’s in Swansea so a bit of a trek, but if you are serious about buying a piano but don’t know which one to buy, then this is the place for you. They have a selection of Steinway’s, Yamaha’s, Bechstein, Bosendorfer, Bluthner and Kawai’s. Let me know if you are interested in buying from them as I am always happy to come piano shopping with people.

Carrying on with pianos, we found this great Yamaha piano. It can play like a normal piano AND completely silently with headphones due to a clever bit of technology inside. Starts from £3,500.

We then also came across this company called Black Dress Code making black concert attire. Very useful for professional concerts.

We stopped to have a chat with our friends from the BBC Ten Pieces team and I saw this flyer for BBC Proms Inspire – they are looking for composers between the ages of 12 – 18. For more, see for more details.