Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jess Gillam's World

March 2016

Jess Gillam is now a 
June Emerson Wind Music Young Artist 

What a month! I have been busy this month competing in and preparing for the BBC Young Musician competition. In January, the Category Finalists for the 2016 competition were announced and I was delighted to have reached the Woodwind Final. The Woodwind Final took place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on March 7th but until the programme has been televised, the results have to remain secret!

BBC Young Musician - BBC Four coverage
BBC Young Musician - Concerto Final

Entering and being a part of this competition has been a fantastic experience and I really have learned a lot from it. The competition offers such a huge platform for young musicians and I have loved being a part of it.

Preparing for the Category Final was extremely enjoyable for me. The thing I focused on most was trying to be in complete control of my saxophone at every single point in the performance. I attempted to work out the absolute extremities of my playing at both loud and quiet dynamics. Often, especially in performance, I lose control of the instrument when I am playing loudly and I was determined not to let that happen in this performance so I worked on tone quality and control as much as possible.

Rob Buckland

I worked on this with Rob Buckland in my lessons quite a lot; pitching and thinking about every single note was something we regularly worked on but I knew it was going to be difficult to replicate in a performance! With John Harle, I had also been working on having an absolute sense of presence during the entire performance and this helped me to stay completely focused throughout. I was quite nervous before I performed but once I had stepped onto the stage, I didn’t have any room left in my head for nerves! I knew the only thing I could think about was the music and performing it the best I could.

Jess & John Harle

Something I often find difficult is thinking about the music as a whole at the same time as thinking about each individual note. I think every note has a certain importance but I think that the overall shape and mood of the music is a lot more important and I have been finding it difficult to strike a balance between these two ideas. I think learning the pieces from memory helped me with this as I was able to think about the shape and the overall movement in the piece while simultaneously remembering that I can only play one note at any one time and all I should be thinking about is that very note!

I absolutely love performing and the adrenaline and risks that go along with it and this was a performance I certainly did enjoy I hope you will too if you manage to watch it! The Woodwind Final will be televised on BBC Four on Friday 15th April.

Follow Jess Gillam on Facebook
Follow @jessgillamsax on Twitter

BBC Young Musician - BBC Four coverage
BBC Young Musician - Concerto Final

Yanagisawa Saxophones UK

Vandoren UK

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