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 Head of Learning and Participation and Senior Lecturer in Music Education, Richard Shrewsbury.
Richard’s workspace has quick access to musical toys, the front garden, and the kitchen, of course, for quick cuppas in between meetings and teaching.
My home workspace is... part music studio, part admin hub and part Zoom and Teams workstation. It consists of a piano, monitor, speakers for music and video editing, a trombone, a soundcard and lots of music technology tools for producing, editing and creating music and music education resources.
My favourite thing about my workspace is... having quick access to a range of musical toys to experiment and create with. It’s also light and airy, and looks out on to our front garden, which gives me a great counter balance to teaching online for hours each day during lockdown. I can quickly grab a cup of tea in the kitchen next door, too.
My workspace companions are... my two daughters, Eleanor and Jessica, and my wife, who has served up numerous cups of tea, working lunches and glasses of water in between back-to-back online meetings and teaching.
While working, I like to listen to... This is an unusual question for me because listening, producing and creating music is my work. Recently, I’ve listened to Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy and George Ezra’s Shotgun, which we arranged and recorded with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire LEAP Ensemble and Rihanna’s Diamonds in the Sky, which we produced and recorded with pupils from CORE Education Trust secondary schools in the city. I also listened to a huge range of different styles and genres of music as part of the Leics Make Music Youth Festival in July that we helped to curate, as well as Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, recorded in partnership with the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra. I’ve also learnt about new artists through our bi-weekly music quizzes with young people across Coventry through our RBC Outreach centres – SoundLab-COV and SoundLab-BRUM.
Since working from home, I’ve discovered... how crucial our RBC Learning and Participation programme and outreach work is in connecting people and bringing groups together through music. We have learnt more about the importance of music and creative arts to wellbeing. The arts and creativity are essential to keeping a positive mental attitude, and we intend to build on this learning and bring it into the University as soon as possible through pop up performances, creative workshops and activities for our students and staff. I have also discovered how much I enjoy, and how important it is, being face-to-face with students and young people as part of our outreach programme, which I hope can return very soon.