Music & Me with … Josephine Pascoe

- 01 Dec 2018 -
Image: Pianist, violinist and flautist from London UK

When were you first introduced to music?

Apparently, as a baby I tried to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra when the Proms were on the TV! I started having piano lessons when I was 5, but before that I have vague recollections of tinkling on the piano with my mum, and playing about with a violin we had knocking about in the attic.  Although my parents are not musicians, they do really value music education and I began learning the violin at 8 and flute at 13. I attended Trinity College of Music in London as a junior student on Saturdays for 7 years until I was 18. It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by other young musicians and we played and sang in orchestras and choirs, as well as having general musicianship lessons (where we were encouraged to compose) and our instrumental tuition. After that I studied Music at the University of York. I’m very much classically trained but have almost always chosen to listen to more contemporary music. As a teenager, I was into Britpop (HUGE Blur fan!), and then moved more towards bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. I’m a big fan of Jamiroquai and enjoy a spot of Röyksopp, but also love a bit of The Darkness (who doesn’t love a gold catsuit?!) and am off to see Nils Frahm this month. I’m rather an omnivorous listener!

Tell us about your favourite teachers

I’m indebted to my very first piano teacher, Olive Lane. She took me on at 5, when most other teachers said I was too young, and was so kind and encouraging. It was at her suggestion that I auditioned for Junior Trinity. I have to mention Keely Shelley (nee Pearson) too. She was Head of Music in the school I did my NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) year and was unbelievably supportive throughout what was a stressful time. We became good friends and I was heartbroken when she died of cancer earlier this year. I can still hear her giving me a pep-talk when I need one! Also, my friend and guitar teacher Neil Thom has been brilliant at getting me back into writing after many years away. I don’t think I’d be writing now if it wasn’t for him. I’m constantly learning about the technology side of things and really enjoy collaborating with someone with a different musical background.

What are your fondest musical memories?

I’m quite a nervous performer so don’t usually enjoy performing as much as I’d like to. However, I remember performing the second movement of Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K448 with a friend at university as part of our Chamber Music unit. I was completely immersed in the music and completely forgot about the audience. When we finished the audience remained totally silent for a while before erupting into applause – apparently it had been really beautiful. That was lovely.

What is your favourite TV theme tune and film soundtrack?

I don’t really watch all that much TV, but (and this is going back a bit in time!) I do really like the Blackadder theme by Howard Goodall. I love the way it is adapted for each series/era – very clever. I’m not sure what to pick for a favourite film soundtrack. I tend to think that really excellent film music should not be immediately noticeable – it should add emotional depth and nuance, and aid the movement of the plot without obviously standing out.

What was the last download/ CD you bought? ​

It was actually Back in Black by AC/DC! I’d been learning the guitar solo and thought I should own a copy. Up until fairly recently I always favoured CDs over downloads – I liked to physically “have” something – but if I carried on like that I’d be buried under CDs, so it’s downloads nowadays. I’ve really been enjoying Brooklyn Funk Essentials lately and have downloaded quite a few of their albums, and I’ve been a big fan of Esperanza Spalding for quite a while – she gives me goosebumps!

Imagine you’ve been given GBP 250.00 to spend on equipment, downloads, vinyl, CDs, DVDs or concert tickets. How will you spend it?

Well, I’m always downloading songs and albums here or there, so I’m sure I’d soon wiffle through 250 quids worth! Although it might be more productive to put it towards setting up some recording technology of my own. I quite fancy a home-studio but just a PC with the right software would be a start!

How do you balance music with other obligations?

I never really get away from music as I’m a freelance music teacher by profession! I teach piano and violin in several schools, and also give private lessons at home. I try to squeeze in time for guitar practice and writing in the evenings and weekends. I don’t yet have the technology at home to record and produce, so I tend to write “old school” on manuscript paper and book time with Neil to work on it and record in his home studio.

Happiness is …  working on something I’m passionate about – be it writing music or playing the guitar. As long as I’m learning and making progress, I’m happy.







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