The Music of the Palace

Last week I had a delightful day at the Hampton Court Palace, one of London’s top choices for a one-day getaway.

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The majestic building and its surroundings appeal to every taste: there are plenty of roses to smell, a funny maze to discover, intriguing never-ending galleries of important history to appreciate, and astonishing gardens to gaze at.

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However, what really intrigued me the most during the day was (of course!) the music! There were shows around the palace with examples of Tudor dances, as in the time of famous King Henry VIII, who lived in the palace:

I learnt in the indoor exhibitions that King Henry VIII was in fact a composer and that some of his repertoire is still known and performed today. Listening to his compositions brings to life all the things that I’ve seen in the palace, and really makes me imagine what it was like to live in that time.

As we moved to the more recent parts of the building, the music changed from Renaissance to Baroque, and we got to hear some examples of marvellous Händel artistry.

As I am aware of the different music periods in history, it was absolutely exciting to move around the different parts of the building (which was rebuilt several times by its different royal owners) with the respective music style.

I definitely recommend a day off at Hampton Court Palace, a dream for the eyes and ears of anyone. A cultural gem and a breath of fresh air!

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Creativity and Entrepreneurship: How to Survive in London.

Ever wondered why London is ridiculously expensive to live in? Well, the answer is obvious – because everyone wants to be in London. If you’re living in London or are bound to come, congratulations! You have gotten yourself a corner in one of the most popular places in the globe. However, if you want to keep it, you’ve got to earn it! London is not a place to lay back and be passive, waiting for work to come. It is the centre of Entrepreneurship and every single resident must look up for the right offers, take the right opportunities as soon as they come and also create own chances to make it and stand out from the crowds.

As a member/ambassador of LUIP, I was offered the chance to take part in an Entrepreneurial workshop, at Kingston University, lead by Dr. Martha Mador. Although I have been very lucky to be studying in a school that trains us to the highest level of entrepreneurial thinking, this workshop made me reflect on some aspects that lead to success at the present time. We are on a post-modern society that is desperate for new IDEAS, and new ways of exploring what already exists.

1. Problem/Solution

Every idea that aims to be a good, valid and successful idea must come from a necessity – it is originated through a process of problem-solving thinking. Therefore, in order to think creatively, we must start by problematising.

2. Collaboration makes Genious

Nowadays, although the individual voice is praised in its unique character, the most effective way to grow, sustain and develop ideas is through team building and discussion. Collaboration allows several unique voices to generate problems and solutions that can be debated in order to check whether they can be applied to a wide population. The more varied the backgrounds of team members are, the wider the possibilities. Different philosophies can converge in a single powerful idea, accepted by various examples of population.

3. Network/Discussion

Building a team for discussion is naturally a strong step towards entrepreneurship. It can happen casually through networking, by debating a certain common theme of interest in a cafe, or it can be officially set up according to common areas of specialisation and variety of backgrounds.

4. Recycling makes New

The Era of inventions has sadly come to an end (in theory), and the best we can do today is to recycle ideas and make them new again, as there is so much that has already been invented so far (and so many necessities that have luckily been fulfilled). The present trend is to solve a problem using pre-existing solutions to other problems. That’s why networking and collaboration are again so important – they allow that people share problems and solutions from different areas of specialisation, creating possible common solutions.

5. The Accordion Effect

This is the complete process of creativity thinking – a flow of air with expansion and contraction of motion, just like the movement that is necessary to play an accordion. We brainstorm and accept all discoveries at first, so that we have then a wide range of material for selection in the second part of the process.

Dr. Mador called it a Diamond Effect. As a musician, I see it as accordion playing.

As this is an art/music-related blog, this is my cue to insert here a bit of an artsy element. Take a look (and a listen) at the Crazy Accordion Trio. A very suggestive name for a group of 3 entrepreneurs, who decided to apply their classical training in Accordion in covers of pop songs, appealing to young people who wouldn’t normally care about acoustic accordion playing. This video has more than a quarter of a million views. Not bad for an accordion trio!

Working and/or studying in London can be mentally hard, as we struggle to get positive figures at the end of each week, when subtracting rent and expenses to all our income. But it is the ideal place for achievers and it can be really rewarding (both financially and socially) once we put our projects into practice. START NOW!

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Trinity Laban

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance. That is the place where I am spending three years of my life and, as an International Study Ambassador, I feel I should share the top five arguments that make this school one of the best places in the world to grow as a performing artist.

London extravaganza!

1. LONDON – THE PLACE TO BE

Obviously, a primary reason to choose to study at Trinity Laban is definitely its location. London is really the capital of Europe when it comes to opportunities for cultural development and creative experimentation. An infinite row of platforms where you can experiment, collaborate, train and develop your skills as a performing artist. After the enough freelance experience and exposure, the amount of work offers will shock you in a very positive way. Indeed, the great majority of TL students work and study at the same time, and as TL students, we know how to handle it!

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2. CONSERVATOIRE TRAINING – AN INTENSE JOURNEY

Yes, conservatoire training can get pretty intense – some days you won’t get enough sleep and enough meals. Some days you won’t want to leave the building. The type of training Trinity Laban offers is the one that really prepares you for the real world, giving you all the necessary tools to survive as an artist in the real business, and feeding your dedication and motivation levels not to give up when a challenge comes! By the way, you can also choose not to face an intense training, as the programmes at TL are so flexible and optional!

CoLab – Creativity without limits

3. MUSIC, DANCE AND THEATRE – COLAB MOTTO

Collaboration is the most often used word inside TL. In a very unusual habitat comprising Musical Theatre, Music and Dance students, it is really exciting to see the amount and quality of cross-disciplinary projects that come out on a regular basis. We even have the CoLab season when, for two weeks, everybody stops lessons and takes part in collaborative projects in challenging out-of-comfort-zone areas, for the sake of experimentation and learning-through-process.

Trinity building in Greenwich

4. GREENWICH AREA – FAR FROM CROUDS BUT CENTRAL ENOUGH

They say Greenwich is not London anymore. Well, it is indeed still Zone 2(!!!) and it is amazingly located by the Thames river and with huge residential areas nearby (Deptford, Lewisham, Charlton, Blackheath), being perfect for an exciting lifestyle for students. The centre is reachable through DLR, Train, Bus, and even Boats!! What else can you ask for?

Trained to fear nothing!

5. OPEN AND FORWARD-LOOKING CREATIVITY HUB

It is inevitable to compare Trinity Laban with the other three major music colleges from London – Royal Academy, Royal College and Guildhall. At the moment, TL ranks #4 in the common sense, but goes much higher than that in all the official rankings – Almost 99% of our first degree leavers in 2012-13 were in employment or further study six months after graduation – the second highest figure across the entire UK higher education sector.

Trinity Laban may not be the first option at the moment, as it is looking well beyond the present and is preparing to be the future’s incontestable number one! It doesn’t have the “Royal” tab attached to its name, so it doesn’t attract elites, nor it is located in the City of London to get all those posh sponsorships. But what it is and where it is will serve a huge community of friendly and dedicated performers who are ready for life and will be the next generation of creative entrepreneurs.

Coming to study at Trinity Laban was the best thing that happened to me in professional terms. Such a vibrant city and an exciting school environment led me to take on unbelievable opportunities and challenge myself at never-before-seen levels. These three years are shaping me as an artist and will have the hugest impact on my career development.

Free Music in London

London is a huge urban vortex full of artistic and innovative minds. It reminds me of an endless table with a gourmet buffet ready to be tasted (yeah, it’s that time of the year when you only see food around you). As a student, I see an immense offer of art events in the city, happening everyday all the time. I often feel that I don’t have enough time to check all the performances around the area. I am posting this to share some of the links where free events can be found.

Trinity Laban Music Events

Guildhall Events

Royal College of Music Events

Royal Academy of Music Events

The four music colleges in London have thousands of events happening all year round. Students eager to showcase their work present top-level performances free of charge. With so many events in the city, it’s also good to have regular audiences around, to keep the levels of motivation up.

Dance & Music Collaborative Performance @ National Maritime Museum

Chamber Music Lunchtime Recital @ All Saints Church, High Wycombe

These events range from Classical to Jazz, and some Musical Theatre performances as well. If that isn’t for your taste, then you should have Time Out as your best friend. This link gives you the next free gigs around the city. The Go London About shows the best places to find free music events. Southbank Centre is a popular venue for free entertainment in a central location, but all the markets and special fairs have free event opportunities. View London has some tips to find the seasonal festivals in special spots in the city.

After checking all these links, please shut down the computer and run to find all these free music fantasies. Enjoy!

The Prime Meridian Gem

If it’s your first time on this blog, you’re probably wondering about the GMT in the blog name. It stands for Go, Meet & Transform, but it also represents the Greenwich Meridian Time, because my London life is based in the beautiful village of Greenwich.

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Greenwich Park

This picture may not correspond to the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind about London. After a while, I was surprised to find:

  • SUN (yeah, there’s more sunlight in London that you might think if you don’t live here);
  • GREEN SPACES (lots of huge green spaces where you can burn some calories or chill out of the crazy London worklife);
  • PEACEFUL SPOTS (the city itself is not dangerous at all, and despite its intense crowds and fast pace, you can always find wide empty areas to get your inner zen on).
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Greenwich Park (the other side)

Greenwich centre looks like an independent village, offering everything I need to live life to the fullest. Fantastic culture treasures to explore, inspiring landscape views, refreshing nature and vibrant arts! Here are some of the touristy highlights I pass by every day:

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Old Royal Naval College:                                        Chapel & Painted Hall

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The Queen’s House

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Getting those perfect friendly shots from the Royal Observatory.

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Amazing view of the iconic Canary Wharf!

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National Maritime Museum

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Cutty Sark

And for the Grand Finale of this fresh and unpredictable London exhibition, I share a picture of me, jumping around in the most amazing college campus in the world. Life’s great in Greenwich!

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Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance

The P (pee) Factor

If you’re a new artist in London, these three words will shine in your mind as you see them for the first time:

PLATFORM

EXPERIENCE

EXPOSURE

Yes, if you’re new in this big city, you feel an immediate desire to PEE, and you’ll accept every opportunity you can get to PEE. You need a platform, a space where you can perform and show your work to the world. You also need to experience all sorts of challenges and get your own history in the arts business. Finally, you need to expose yourself and make sure that you’re seen by those who will make you build your career.

Be sure not to fall into the over-pee trap though, or you’ll end up with a crazy timetable of volunteer work that gets you nowhere.

THE OVER-PEE TRAP

During my first year in London, I was determined to take advantage of every opportunity that would come to me. One day I got in my college email the following message:

“I’m part of a nonprofit organization and they’re going to need a pianist for their launch event.There will be media coverage, wine, food and a whole load of high-profile guests (such as the dragon’s den investors, ambassadors of various countries, entertainment industry people etc.)

They’d need to play from about 6:30 for a few hours on and off — nice, relaxing, evening music.

Know anyone who might be interested? Be great if you can spread this around!’

Thanks x

Please let me know if anyone is interested! It is a good performance opportunity plus you’ll be seen by high-profile guests who might want to book you for their event!

The big trap of being a performing artist in London with a desire to PEE is that people start undervaluing the work of performers (specially student-performers). They don’t need to pay for our work, as there is always one person in this huge city who is willing (and desperate) to get the gig for free.

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The graphic shows what I observed during the evening I took part in that event. It was a non-profit organisation, so they were selling expensive wine and doing all sorts of auctions. However, they did spend a lot of money in making the whole event very elegant, with great food and wine, wonderful marketing appearance and professional staff. I got to understand that the money raised in the event went to:

  • the organisers, who needed money for future market advertisements and (obviously) for their salary;
  • a considerable part for charity work, although far from the total of the amount;
  • all the high-standard marketing presentation of the organisation, with logos, promo videos, merchandising;
  • the stewards and catering staff, who assumed they weren’t there doing volunteering work.

And then there’s the background music provided by the volunteer entertainer. I played for 4 hours (!) with only one break for speeches. I spent money on travelling to the venue and time preparing repertoire.

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Here’s the picture of me playing at that event. I didn’t get to talk with many people, as they were almost all gone by the time I finished playing. The famous network environment wasn’t very profitable for me, as I wasn’t presented to anybody. By the time I came off of the piano, nobody was interested in meeting anyone.

The worst thing was when I went to have the dinner that I was promised to, and the organisers told me that the food was all gone hours ago.

credit: MaryLu Tyndall

As I walk past from that very posh event I was involved in, I felt like I just had had the lowest point in my music career. It was a breaking point for me and my London adventure. From this night on, I started to appreciate the true value of my work. We shouldn’t give away our daily hours and hours of sweat, motivation and dedication for people who show no recognition or gratitude whatsoever.

My general advice to anyone that is starting an independent life in London – and this is the motto that has been driving me through this journey – is to have two simple sentences in one’s mind:

London is big. I am bigger.

London might give us everything we want (and by everything I mean everything). But we cannot give it all away and allow it to swallow us.

Be open, but be also very selective.

Go, Meet & Transform in London

Welcome to London Art GMT ! The place where you have to start, if you want to succeed in the Art world in London.

This blog will give you lots of tips to embrance the arts in London and to let everyone embrace your art! It’s all about GOING, MEETING & TRANSFORMING. If you really experience something and create your own story in London, you firstly need to say YES to the right opportunity that comes to you. And you will find many more opportunities to be creative in London than you expect, but you’ve got to select the ones you’re more passionate about and in which you feel you have something special to say! Because let’s face it, in such a huge city like London, there are thousands of creative minds hungry for opportunities, and chances are that all of them are better than you in a specific area, just because they all SPECIALISE in what makes them unique. So if you want to make it in Europe’s city of dreams, you need to find what really drives you and what you think is special about you. Then the easy part comes, you just have to show the world how passionate and unique you are.

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say YES to London, embrace the arts and live the moment !!
(by the way, nice YES installation in Greenwich Park)

I am a Portuguese concert pianist, in search of my uniqueness as I live and experience arts in London. I often go abroad to perform in classical concerts, as it’s not easy to survive performing classical in London only. I am also very passionate about Musical Theatre (yeah, it’s the right city to be in then), so I am gradually building my training in order to make the most of my piano skills in the MT world.

Here’s my website, just in case someone wants to find out more:

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www.edgar-cardoso.com

I train at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, which has the most beautiful campus on earth (full description and lots of pics will be posted soon!). This blog was created as a project for the London Study Ambassador Programme. As I am the International Student Ambassador for Trinity Laban, I am part of a very special team of 17 representatives from London universities, and we will take part in the most incredible adventures around London, experiencing it in the most elegant way!

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London Study Ambassadors. I’m the first boy appearing on the left side.

Being the only performing arts representative in the group, I get to promote this city in a very different way from my partners. I hope you enjoy reading my tips along the way. Those come from a true experience of life in the trendiest art centre of the world!!