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Passing the Baton: Martin Perkins and Maisy Neale

Welcome to series 3 of ‘Passing the Baton’ where members of the Conservatoire community talk to each other about life in the time of Covid-19.

PTB - Maisy and Martin

In Episode 5, RBC Early Music Tutor and Instrument Curator Martin Perkins talks to BMus 2 clarinettist Maisy Neale.

Martin Perkins (MP)

What was your lockdown like? How did you cope with the unusual situation?

Maisy Neale (MN)

It was very mixed. The first few weeks I tried to convince myself that I’d use the time off to learn everything I needed to for Year 2, become a virtuoso on the clarinet and do daily yoga practice – after none of these were remotely successful, I sort of came to terms with the fact that in a global pandemic, just taking every day as it comes and doing what you can was good enough! I think I just coped by keeping in contact with friends, keeping busy and going on walks.

 

MP

Did you have a lockdown routine?

MN

Nothing that really felt like a routine, but I tried to stay motivated by giving myself goals and deadlines – even if it was little things like making a cake or calling a friend. I found having so much time to organise myself quite overwhelming, having got used to having such a busy routine at RBC. I never managed to give myself a strict routine, but I got what I needed to do done, I guess!

Baking

 

MP

Did you get through many books or films?

MN

My ‘Performance Traditions’ essay was due in the second month of lockdown, so I didn’t do much reading except for every article on pitch I could find. I’d had enough of reading for a bit after that. However, I also subscribed to Disney+ and binged watched all the Toy Story movies – intellectual, I know!

 

MP

I guess you were able to stay with family at home – how did that go?

MN

Up until this year, I have commuted, so staying with family was nothing new. My sister is a doctor, so it was quite scary getting first-hand stories of what was happening in hospitals, but lovely to be able to spend time with my family properly – and now that I’ve moved out something I rather miss.

 

MP

You spent time over the first lockdown blogging about new music and musicians. Is this something you’ve kept up since, and do you see yourself carrying this on in the future?

MN

Yes, I have kept this up. The blog can be found at www.maisykate.co.uk/blog if anyone is interested. I haven’t been able to write as much, as the Conservatoire is now my main focus, but I enjoy being sent lots of new music to listen to of all different styles and connect with lots of different musicians from all over the world. I definitely want to keep up writing and reviewing in the future, but how this will fit around my degree and future plans, I’m not sure of yet!

 

MP

What’s the best thing about being back in our building after so long?

MN

The fact that because wind players are deemed the most dangerous in terms of spreading Covid-19, we get the best space in the building – The Bradshaw Hall. I’m absolutely loving being able to perform in a concert hall every week, after being limited to my bedroom for seven months.

Bradshaw Hall

MP

Have your experiences this year caused your future plans to change focus or direction?

MN

I had a few students that I was teaching before the pandemic, but a lot of them haven’t continued because they don’t like online lessons or have been working in the NHS, so have different priorities. It’s made me realise how much I enjoy teaching and how I definitely want to continue with it in the future. However, in terms of future plans, I don’t really know what I want to do yet.

 

MP

Are there any positives you can take from 2020?

MN

I now have an in-depth knowledge of all the features of most video-calling software – not sure that is a positive though. After a busy year, I think having time to reflect on the world during lockdown was a positive too.

MP

Can you recommend a Netflix series?

MN

I watched ‘Emily in Paris’ recently, which was a great series about a marketing assistant going to work in France without being able to speak a word of French. Also, not a series, but ‘Enola Holmes’ is really good!

 

Next episode, Maisy talks to RBC International Relations Manager, Ruth Wootton