What it’s really like to perform at a SoundStorm concert

Performing on stage can be intimidating. At SoundStorm, we want to make our concerts an exciting and rewarding experience. We support you from the beginning with specialist coaching to improve your technique as well as your confidence, before you take to the stage. 

If you’re thinking of applying to our upcoming performance opportunity ‘Perform,’ but aren’t sure what to expect, we asked local young violinist, Lewis Lee, to talk us through the process and offer some advice…

On Thursday the 4th of May, I took part in the Cadenza recital, run by the local music hub for Bournemouth and Poole, SoundStorm. The event took place in the wonderfully gothic Shelley Theatre, which emanates an air of sophistication and has a vibrant performance atmosphere. This was my third, but by far my favourite time I had performed there, for even on arrival I could tell that this was going to be an engaging and highly enjoyable experience…

Auditions

The audition to the concert was warm and constructive and by no means frightening. All those listening were attentive and very positive in how you could improve your technique or performance.

Performance Day

Arrival

On entering the building a few hours before the concert, we were quickly registered and catered for, before being escorted to a room where we could relax, leave our belongings and meet with other performers. All SoundStorm staff were friendly and very helpful; you didn’t need to fear if you didn’t know anybody for example, as they all were open and introduced you to themselves and your peers.

 

Pre-show Workshop

After settling in we began a performance skills workshop with notable composer and musician John K. Miles. This was an excellent idea on SoundStorm’s behalf: for not only did it teach how to cope with the sometimes-terrifying beast that performing can be, it also, and perhaps more importantly, broke the ice and relaxed all of us.

Firstly, we introduced ourselves and then began, initially only rhythmically and then with our voices, to build up a gospel melody which eventually we all sang together. This was a particularly special moment, for you must remember that most of us barely knew each other and all played a plethora of instruments – so this allowed us to make music together and put aside our musical differences. Afterwards we continued with some improvisation and then just talked about nerves and if we had any worries, which nobody was afraid to share.

Tech Rehearsal

The last step before the concert was the lighting and technical rehearsal. We all briefly got up on stage and played a little of our pieces while the team got the idea of how the mics and lights needed to be positioned. Not only was the lighting fantastically arranged – varied, deep colours that perfectly complemented the atmosphere and stage- this also allowed those who weren’t used to it a glimpse into how performing on the stage would feel later.

The Concert

Then came the concert itself. It was compered by Claire Tudge and was overall a very valuable and entertaining experience. All musicians were clearly comfortable and were loving their chance to perform. Another good point to make would be that, due to such an eclectic mix of performers (anything from saxophonists to pop singers to cellists), there was no proper dress code. This allowed us to express ourselves and complete our personal performance style perfectly. For my part, I found my own performing experience to be brilliant and the audience were friendly and responsive.

Between performances we either sat and watched others, which broadened my personal musical taste, or sat back stage and talked with other young musicians and got to know each other.

Why perform?

The experience had such a positive influence on all of us. I had a friend who had never really performed before who did it with me, and he did not stop talking about the experience the whole week after (!) and said he couldn’t wait to apply to the next SoundStorm concert.

I loved the Cadenza Recital, finding it an outstanding performance opportunity, excellently managed and friendly. I met other young musicians and widened my musical taste in what was a well-advertised and fabulous evening.

To any young musicians reading this, I would highly recommend applying for any future opportunities like this, you will not regret it!

Thanks Lewis! SoundStorm are passionate about creating inspirational experiences and provide platforms for young musicians to perform throughout the year.

Our next concert is ‘Perform,’ an enrichment opportunity for KS4/5 music students to receive one-to-one coaching to improve their technique before taking to the stage in February 2018. Read more and apply here.