“The things that I discovered
in the circles that I ran
have been difficult and humbling,
some don’t understand
but I’m happiest when struggling”
Kate Tempest, Theme From Becky
Reflection on the past year
Having left the safety of full-time employment one year ago, it felt useful to look back on what’s happened since.
Right now I’m in a place where I’m entirely making my living through music and music accessories.
I don’t make a lot.
I do make enough.
There’s time to work on projects without immediate financial gain.
There’s time to help others with their own pickles.
There is no map.
There are paths.
This is great.
Reflection on Admiral
There’s not a day that goes past when I’m not happy to have left Admiral. There’s not a day that goes past when I’m not grateful for every day I spent there. I learnt so much from my three years with a career encompassing huge variety and personal value. I still hold the company and its employees with the highest regard and wish them nothing but the best of the best of the best.
In dedication to Henry Englehardt’s endlessly innovative and inspirational style, I think 2015 was the year of the seed; it’s been planted, is well nourished, and we now have to wait and see what it grows into.
Reflection on Self-Employment
Possibly of most value is the realisation that even when you’re self-employed, you’re not alone. There are incredible networks of good people who have trodden similar paths and are, in my experience, so supportive and generous with their stories and advice, offering sticks when you’re stuck in the mud. There’s an endless ocean of information at the hands of anyone with a modem and sound judgement.
In general, I’ve found that people are on your side. For this I’m so, so, so grateful.
Things I’ve found to be important
- People in the same industry are on the same side
- Work smart, not long
- When opportunities come, be good enough to keep them
Difficulties I’ve had
- Work life balance
- What to do when it feels like there’s nothing to do
- Focusing on a specific direction, which is only a problem when you end up not taking one.
Goals for next year
- Develop and refine my workflow for writing music
- Meet more people
- Spend less unfocused time on social media
Some stories I didn’t expect to be able to tell
- Hiring an El Salvadorian web developer, who is wonderful and I contact to this day
- Accompanying a choir from the back of a trailer, my score lit by an LED pen
- Running the Cardiff Worlds Half Marathon with my beloved
Review of my some of this year’s jobs
- Sound Designer and Composer for Blind Sky Studios
- Composer and Musical Director for Monstrous Productions Theatre Company
- Rock School Practitioner for RecRock
- Conductor of the in-work choir for Companies House
- Musical Director for BillBoard Ensemble’s Junior company
- Assistant Musical Director for BillBoard Ensemble’s Adult company
- Bassist for a regularly performing, currently unnamed jazz quartet
- Albatross for Albatross Archive
- Teacher (vocal, piano, guitar, theory, aural) for Vale School of Music
- Pianist for Wilford School of Dance (including performances of “Hansel and Gretel”)
- Accompanist for University of Wales Trinity Saint David
- Music Tech and Composition supporting tutor for St. Illtyds Catholic High School
- Composer for Pong Ping Music
- Composer for Clear Wave Music
- To Keith MacGregor for convincing me that now is always the best time
- To Matthew Creed and Patrick Hathaway of Jammy Custard Studios for their advice and council
- To Kit Denison for being a hero
- To internet friends and groups (“Cardiff Start” in particular) for their endless criticism and support in times of need
- To outernet friends for their endless criticism and support in times of need, in person
- To the members of the Welsh ICE for being a source of constant inspiration
- To my family and family-in-theory who’ve been more than wonderful
- To my beloved who means more than everything