Coping at University With a Chronic Condition

As I’m all about sharing great articles and advice, I thought I’d share a really helpful blog that a friend of mine wrote.  She has a chronic condition called Hypothyroidism, and auto-immune disease that affects your metabolism causing you to feel chronically exhausted among many other unpleasant symptoms.  This blog shares her experiences of being in university with this and provides some really helpful practical tips on how to manage.

I don’t have a chronic condition like Hayley but I grew up with a parent with some very debilitating conditions and I understand how much of an impact they have on your life.  Please take a read of this lovely article and please share it with anyone you know going through something similar.

Hayleytompope – Coping at University With a Chronic Illness

Bass Clarinet and other things.

It’s been a long time since I wrote the blog… apologies to my few subscribers… but it’s been a busy time.  Our quintet tour got cancelled, then it happened again in Easter, my Klezmer band got a gig in the Freud Museum (finally an audience that enjoyed a hora) and every member of my quintet was awarded an A* (High 1st) in our chamber music exam.  My clarinet teacher gave me the personality assessment that no counsellor has managed so accurately, finally he broke me down – in the nicest possible way – to make me see my full potential.  Needless to say I’ve been focusing on my studies much better since.

The biggest news in my life (in my opinion) is finally the arrival of a bass clarinet!  Last week I went to Howarth’s of London with the intention of buying a new clarinet mouthpiece.  But being me, I couldn’t quite resist trying out the new Buffet bass clarinet model Tosca, and I walked out with a new mouthpiece, a C clarinet and a bass clarinet on approval…

Now I would feel a bit sheepish about spoiling myself with a silly amount of pricey new instruments that fall way beyond my budget.  But this has been something that I have been talking about for over a year, and I knew that the day would come where I would have to borrow lots of money from my family to fund the instrument that is right for me.  And boy did I know in the first five minutes that this was going to be MY instrument!  The moment I played it I knew… This was the one for me.  So today I go excitedly to the music shop to pay for it.  What a painful transaction that is going to be.  But absolutely worth it.

Now I don’t have a name for the bass yet, but I’m pretty certain it’s a she.  😉

How DO you pick a group name?

How do you pick a name for a chamber group? This week’s primary task is finally christening our wonderful wind quintet (which has been running for over a year now). However, the task is proving to be a difficult one.

The wind quintet I am in was formed last year from a mix of people I know from my year and the year above in college, and though I was their third choice of clarinettist for the group, I fitted in with the silly, fun-loving dynamic and we have since flourished. High marks in exams, feature concerts in the Royal Navel College Chapel on the way!!!! But wait… how can we have a concert for a chamber group which doesn’t really exist? – Without a name we are simply “that other quintet in college” which quite honestly is useless on a professional level.

Would any of YOU hire “that other quintet from that music college?” — Didn’t think so. So! After months of ignoring this issue and joking to each other about names – some of my suggestions included ‘the Bell Ends’ and ‘Passing Winds’ vulgar I know – but we finally sat down today and decided that it was time to seriously think about names, and we have given ourselves this Sunday as a deadline to decide. After a short discussion with our leader Ali and struggling to think of anything other than the negatives, we came up with some definite DON’TS for us:

1. Don’t pick something that already exists. – Do your research. Duh. And yes I might have made that mistake and had to do a quick back track…

2. Don’t spell anything wrong – Unless it’s deliberate, though be careful!

3. Nothing rude/Puns aren’t always cool. – Especially if you have to keep that name FOREVER, just remember that, this name is FOREVER, and once on the internet, always on the internet.

The best pun name for a chamber group I’ve seen is The Breaking Winds, a whole other thing entirely, they are funny, they do great arrangements….! Just see for yourself (I’M A FAN).

I believe that a lot of this is common sense, and people may agree or disagree, or even laugh at me for writing this down (see the nervous musician paranoia return?) but these are mistakes I have made in the past, and that I’ve watched other people make and regret.

All of this doesn’t really answer my question “How to pick a chamber group name?” but it has certainly made me feel better by writing it all down!  I will keep you updated in the near future with a name.

To hear the Breaking Winds bassoon quartet find them on youtube