Welcome to my Workspace - David Mayne, Performance Department Assistant

As experimenting and creating music from home becomes the new norm, our ‘Welcome to my Workspace’ feature reflects the change in the working environments of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s staff. This week we talk to Performance Department Assistant David Mayne. 

David Mayne workspace

David’s home is busy, with three children to home-educate, an array of birds gathering in his garden, and black and white cat Bessie making her presence known.

My home workspace is… an armchair in the corner of the room in front of the window, which looks out on to our busy garden, where we have plenty of wildlife-attracting flowers and plants. We’ve become good at attracting new birds, thanks to a big bird food order I did in March. As well as the local sparrows, we now have a family or two of blue tits, some goldfinches, long-tailed tits and occasionally a woodpecker knocks seven bells out of our tree. The highlight was a sparrow hawk who caused a real fuss one day when it dropped in for lunch.

I like my workspace as it’s cosy and next to a convenient plug socket and coffee table. I only get to work in the evenings, unless I’m on a MS Teams meeting, thanks to home schooling – which has now thankfully come to an end. My wife has been heroically teaching bassoon via online lessons in the front room, so I was shunned to the kitchen to try to educate an eight-year-old and a six-year-old, and try to entertain a three-year-old, so working during normal hours is either a quick reply on the phone or non-existent.

My favourite thing about my workspace is… thatI can still talk to my wife when she’s not teaching her private pupils in the evenings. I can also easily turn to admire our garden, plus I have a handy coffee table for many, many cups of coffee.

It’s comfortable and although I’m working, I have a sense of being part of the family unit in the evenings. When it gets dark if I look out the window, I sometimes get a glimpse of our resident bat doing laps of the garden.

My workspace companion is… usually our black and white cat Bessie, in her reserved place behind me. Every now and then a paw will stretch out and claws dig in my shoulders just to remind me she’s doing me a favour by letting me sit here.

We did have two cats, but one was quite ill and was put to sleep during lockdown. Another will be arriving from the RSPCA soon.

While working I like to listen to… my Spotify playlist, which is a labyrinth of music and is always on shuffle. One minute it’ll be Mozart, the next Nick Cave and Bad Seeds, then the theme song from The Crown, the Schubert Octet, Brighouse and Rastrick Brass band…. you never know what you’ll get next.

I’m a huge fan of film soundtracks, so I’ll probably skip a few until I find a David Arnold soundtrack or something Hans Zimmer-ish.

I can’t work in complete silence, which my boss will testify to. I usually have my speakers on in the office as strangely enough it helps set a rhythm or mood to my work, depending on what I’ve got to do each day. You’d be surprised how much you can get done while listening to Brahms Symphony No. 4 very loudly through headphones.

Since working from home I’ve discovered…

  • That I’m still not good at DIY.
  • A have a lot of new recipes courtesy of Joe Wicks.
  • Joe Wicks.
  • I hate the synaptic pad on my laptop.
  • I prefer being in the office to being at home.
  • Most of what they teach kids in schools these days is not how I learnt things when I was in school.
  • Breaktime is as important as worktime when stuck in a house unable to go anywhere. It’s a valuable time to let your mind rest and keep calm when inside you want to scream.
  • I still love coffee
  • And real ale
  • And wine…
  • Netflix.