Exploring new learning opportunities through lockdown

While the current Covid-19 restrictions are limiting the ways in which we can interact face-to-face, many students are finding new and creative ways to collaborate and enhance their University experience.

Among them is music student Anthony White who has helped to launch a virtual choir, is interacting with renowned composers through virtual workshops and has written his own new music dedicated to the work of the NHS.

Anthony, who has just completed the second year of his BMus, said: “Lockdown has certainly imposed restrictions on many people globally, but one thing that unites us all is music.

“We have needed to find other ways to creativity make music and to collaborate and while face-to-face options may not be possible for a while, the Covid-19 restrictions are opening up lots of other opportunities.

“Thanks to technology I’ve have not only been able to keep in contact with people and friends, but to also carry on making music my own way – learning from some of the very best in the business.”

Anthony is currently helping to run a virtual choir called Vox Ex Animo, launched in April, which he Co-Founded with a friend.

“Since launching this project we have had musicians who have joined from all over the UK and parts of Europe with a commitment to make music to sing choral works that we all like and to support one another during these challenging and unprecedented times,” he added.

“For one of our latest pieces we have recorded a wonderful arrangement of ‘Over the Rainbow’, which seemed very fitting in the current climate. It is great to be able to bring singers together to sing, to collaborate and most of all make music.

“Since the choir’s inception, we have just appointed and announced our Composer-in-Residence Cameron Biles-Liddell a composer and pianist studying for a PhD in acoustic composition at the University of Manchester, under the guidance of Camden Reeves. As the Co-Founder of the choir I and the Founder look forward to collaborating and working closely with Cameron in the upcoming weeks and months”

Anthony has also benefitted from the ‘Composer Wellbeing Collective’ as well as the Composer Coffee Breaks launched separately by film composer Michael Price, known for his big and small screen scores including the BBC series Sherlock.

He said: “Renowned composers have taken part in the Zoom workshops including Steve Price, Olafur Arnalds, and Rachel Portman OBE to name a few to talk about their experiences, their challenges that they have faced with lockdown and their musical journey’s so far.

“It’s been wonderful to get a taste of how they work. I then registered my interest in their mentorship scheme that they offered and was then subsequently partnered with another media composer based in London.

“Every week for the past three weeks I have had a peer-to-peer meeting with my mentee to talk about our compositional and musical journey’s so far, our experiences, our aspirations, sharing our ideas and supporting each other through lockdown.”

Aspiring composer Anthony has already used the experience to pen his own short melodic piece titled ‘Unity’, dedicated to the NHS and other frontline workers and is assisting with the #iPlay4Peace initiative.