Variations on We Wish You a Merry Christmas released!

Hello, everybody! Today I released the final version of my Variations on We Wish You a Merry Christmas. I ended up adding just one more variation to the previous version, but feel that it finishes things off nicely. It was loosely inspired by Rachmaninov’s gentler work.

As well as being available to listen to on YouTube, it’s also available with piano notation on my Bandcamp page where you can name your price. If you prefer not to pay, you can download it for free. https://nicholasowen-petch.bandcamp.com/album/variations-on-we-wish-you-a-merry-christmas

If you’re sick of Christmas carols, then please check out my band’s Christmas single for a cheekier take on the subject, which sums up all of the bad things about Christmas in a catchy 3 minute song! https://heavyduck.bandcamp.com/track/bloody-christmas

Video performance on An Ill Presence

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any kind of musical performance, as I tend to prefer the writing and recording process more than playing live. That said, I’m experimenting with what kinds of videos might be interesting for my YouTube channel, so I recorded on of the pieces from my recent album. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

If you enjoy the video, please consider subscribing to my channel. I plan on putting up a variety of different types of videos, including performances (both original and covers), my thoughts on various aspects of learning music and how to make them simpler, analyses of music from other people, and new compositions.

Many thanks to Iryna Zastavna for spending a lot of time figuring out the best places for the candles and how to do the lighting. She’s completely new to such things and she did a great job! The overall image quality is a bit low because the camera on my phone doesn’t deal very well with low light.

Variations on We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Since Christmas is on the way, I thought I’d dig out a set a variations that I wrote on the theme of We Wish You a Merry Christmas years ago for a pupil of mine. She was from China and not really familiar with traditional English Christmas carols, or with much in the way of Western Classical music, so I wrote these variations as a way of combining both of those things.

They are very (very) loosely in the styles of Bach, Clementi, Schubert and Beethoven, but are only pastiches aiming to evoke the feeling of those composers – if anyone who knows their music well takes a look, I’m sure they’ll be able to pick them apart. My original plan was to write a couple more variations in Romantic styles – if anyone is interested in hearing that, let me know and I’ll give it a shot.

My new album has been released!

Hello, everybody! I’m delighted to announce the release of my first solo piano album, Let the Journey Begin! Though I’ve always dabbled with composition and song writing, I’ve never been very good at taking my ideas to completion. During the pandemic, as I’ve had fewer lessons to teach, I decided to finally finish a project. This album is the result of 10 months of writing and recording. It includes ideas that go back as far as 2013 as well as completely new ones.

I’ve always loved older video game soundtrack, especially those from the 90s and early 2000s. The music had a lot of work to do, as graphical limitations and lack of disc space often meant that facial expressions and voice acting were limited. The music had to carry the scene, let players know how the characters were feeling and tell the story.

This is what I’ve tried to capture as I was writing this music. As the majority of my prior experience is in writing pop and rock songs, this project forced me to get outside my usual habits of writing and learn experiment with form, texture, harmony, and rhythm.

My album is available to purchase on Bandcamp (click the link to be taken to my Bandcamp page). For the princely sum of £6, you’ll receive not only the audio, but also sheet music for every track. If you feel that my music is worth your money, this is a great way to support me as most of the money comes to me – Bandcamp takes a small cut of the sale compared to most distributors.

If you prefer to stream music, you can listen on Spotify or on YouTube.

The cover artwork for my album was done by the wonderful Shannon Leslie. She works in traditional media and I highly recommend checking out her website: https://www.shannonleslieart.com/

Awareness Through Movement Lessons

I’m excited to post that, I’m now a student teacher in the Feldenkrais Method. In October of this year, several of my fellow trainees and I completed the first two years of the Chiemsee 7 International Feldenkrais Training. Part of that involved teaching two Awareness Through Movement classes under observation of our trainers.

What does that mean? It means I’m now able to teach Awareness Through Movement classes to the public and will be doing so at 7pm on Friday evenings from the Kyogikan dojo, home of the Steel City Aikido Club. The dojo is located in the Devonshire Business Park and there are admirable directions on the dojo’s website. (click for link)

From January 2015, classes will be £5 per person, or £4 if more than four people attend. Your first class free.

It’s obviously great to have this opportunity to teach this unique method of learning to the public to help them greater awareness of themselves so they can learn to move more easily and gracefully and without aches and pains.

For more details, please check out this page on my teaching website.

Upcoming gig: Velvet Goldmine at Bar Abbey – 30.01.14

Hello all,

on 30th January my band will be playing as part of a fantastic line up of rock bands at Quarter Till Dawn Rock Night at Bar Abbey.  Other bands playing are JATO, Caspian Sea and Deadset Dream.

For more details see the Quarter Till Dawn event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/474572075986409/?fref=ts

Summary of 2013

It’s been a while since I last posted. I hope everybody’s had a wonderful Christmas.

The last year has been an interesting one and many things have changed.

I left my previous employment as a music tutor and became self-employed. This gave me more time for myself; I felt my own development as a musician became stifled when I was teaching all the time. Teaching fewer pupils has allowed me to progress with my own skills, which in turn has fed my teaching. I feel that I’ve learned a huge amount from my pupils this year – their individuality has forced me to reinvent my teaching style again and again, to be as versatile as possible so that I can serve them best and provide the most effective education.

Early on in the year the band I was playing with broke up. Although a sad event in itself, it paved the way for the formation of a new band, Velvet-Goldmine. We’ve spent the year writing and learning a large amount of songs and we recently recorded five songs in the studio for a new album. We still have a session of mixing to do but they already sound great! Expect to hear some of them soon!

I also joined another band, Heavy Duck, which was originally formed 8 years a go (under a different name) by a good friend of mine whilst we were at college. It’s been a nice change of pace for me playing lead guitar and I’m looking forward to writing some new material with them. This band has also been in the studio recording a new album recently – we have a couple more sessions to go, but I’m eager to hear the end result!

This year has also been about learning.

I rediscovered my love of composing music and set about learning how to use recording software to create the music I hear in my head. I’ve been enjoying navigating the technical hurdles and figuring out how everything works. There’s still a lot for me to learn, but I’m fascinated by every new problem.

I also started training to become a practitioner in the Feldenkrais Method. The method utilises movement to aid learning – old patterns of movement and habits are broken up and a new improved co-ordination is developed. It’s great for anyone that has to perform (actors, dancers, musicians, athletes), and as an aid to recovering from injuries, or for those that feel that the way they move is hindering them in some way.

My first training segment was in October – as a learning experience it was incredible and I returned refreshed and full of new ideas for teaching.

All in all, 2013 has been great and I’m really excited about the new year.

I hope 2014 will be great for everyone.
Nick

Double gig at The Centre Spot: 29.11.13

Hello all,

This announcement is for a very cool gig taking place on Friday 29th Novemeber at The Centre Spot, 56 Jaunty Lane, Sheffield, S12 3DN. What’s particularly special for me about this gig is that I’ll be playing two sets, one with each of my bands. The fantastic Jamie Ring will also be doing an acoustic set.

So, if you’re a fan of Velvet Goldmine you’ll be happy! If you’re a fan of Heavy Duck you’ll be happy. If you’re a fan of both you’re probably more than a bit insane, but you’ll be particularly happy!

Come along for some great rock and pop/punk music played in a nice pub!

Click here for the Facebook event page.

Upcoming gig: Heavy Duck at West Street Live – 29.08.13

Greetings all, tomorrow I’ll be playing a full gig with Heavy Duck, the most recent band I’ve joined. We’re a pop/punk/rock band with some elements of metal mixed in. You can visit our website here (link will open in a new window/tab). It’s a nice change of pace for me as I’m playing guitar rather than keys (though there will be some keyboards parts in future songs).

Tomorrow’s gig is at West Street Live, West Street, Sheffield.