Diversity Fortnight at the School of Music
10 April 2019
The School of Music celebrated Diversity Fortnight and International Women’s Day with a series of events.
The first was a showcase concert held on International Women’s Day, celebrating female composers, and female student performers and composers. Held in the School of Music concert hall, the concert highlighted musical works written, directed, arranged and performed by women, along with pieces about women.
Composers featured included Clara Schumann, Lili Boulanger and Morfydd Owen in a range of genres including chamber music, art song, opera, folk song, jazz and musical theatre, demonstrating the fantastic and wide-ranging talent among our students.
Our second event was a discussion held between Dr Cameron Gardner, piano teacher Alison Bowring and her blind pupil Rachel Starritt. Rachel, postgraduate student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, spoke openly of the challenges she faced when she first started to study piano with Alison at the age of 11.
The two, through demonstration, highlighted the overcoming of physical and geographical obstacles, not least with a rhythmic and coordination technique Alison has pioneered since teaching Rachel: desynchronization. This experience has enabled Alison to reinvent her teaching technique and has benefitted all of her students.
As well as continuing to develop repertoire and performing experience, Rachel also spoke of her ambition to expand her experience in jazz and improvisation (a particular strength) and to start composition study.
Music’s contribution to Diversity Fortnight closed with two talks on the therapeutic benefit of recreation and music in promoting positive physical and mental health, with a contribution from School of Music graduate Hannah Gibbs.
Hannah works with a housing organization and currently has two clients taking music therapy. Having first encountered music therapy during her time studying in Boston, Hannah discussed the ways in which she developed the discipline through her study and approach to social work.