It’s always fascinating to read the stories of recorder players: how, why and when they decided to make this humble but hugely diverse instrument into a part of their lives and careers.
We decided to make an ‘Alumnus’ page for previous Woodhouse participants to share their stories…. feel free to contact us if you have attended a Woodhouse course and would like to be a part of this page!
Lauren Brant is a London based recorder player and music teacher. Lauren read music at Birmingham University, completed her MA at University College London and holds her LRSM in performance on the recorder. Lauren is a founder member of the early music ensembles Baroque Encounter and Flautotonic.
Lauren is passionate about musical education, and has a growing reputation for her creative and innovative recorder teaching. She is an experienced workshop leader and enjoys leading young people to create their own music. Her work as director of the Dulwich Hamlet Junior School Fusion Ensemble has resulted in several awards for Innovation as well as invitations to perform at the School’s Prom and Primary Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.
Lauren has also worked as a performer and music leader on a number of exciting musical projects with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Spitalfields Music Festival and the Wigmore Hall.
Lauren has also led successful recorder and music education projects in Cambodia and Bolivia. In Bolivia Lauren explored Andean music and worked with blind recorder students in a project which culminated in performances on Bolivian national television.
Lauren’s memories of Woodhouse:
‘During my music degree I had immersed myself in a wide range of topics, focused on my trumpet playing and developed my knowledge of music. Whilst this was a brilliant background for my work as a BBC Music Researcher and Music Leader, I was keen after graduation to improve and develop my recorder playing. I studied the recorder with eminent players and complimented this with various Woodhouse courses. Every Woodhouse course was fun, supportive and engaging. In my work as a recorder teacher and ensemble director I regularly draw upon experiences and thoughts learnt, gained and ignited from Woodhouse courses. Thank you Woodhouse!’
Sarah Jeffery (1985, Derbyshire) is a recorder player and clog dancer currently based in the Netherlands. Having recently graduated cum laude from her master studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Sarah now collaborates closely with composers, in particular to create music-theatre.
As well being a soloist, Sarah performs with a number of her own ensembles: aXolot (recorder trio), Jerboah (pop band), Theater fluup! (music-theatre for toddlers), The Royal Wind Music (large Renaissance recorder consort), Bo is Burning (experimental music-theatre) and The White Noise Orchestra (free improvisation).
Sarah is active in education: alongside a number of recorder students, she gives workshops in improvisation and composition at the SoundLAB, using electronic sound installations. Sarah regularly lectures at education conferences on topics from early years education to humour in music. She runs a Youtube channel – Team Recorder – providing recorder tutorials every week. Sarah also writes about music, for publications such as Primephonic, Tempo and Blokfluitist.
Sarah’s memories of Woodhouse
‘Woodhouse was a really amazing experience. The atmosphere was supportive and fun, whilst the content was challenging and exciting. I learnt so much in just a few days! There’s nothing like being surrounded by like-minded people who all share the same passion for the recorder, and I made some friends for life there. It was at Woodhouse that I first got to try out live electronics with the recorder, and with the support and help of the tutors there, I finally dared to audition for the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Nine years later, I’m enjoying music in Amsterdam – and I’m certain I wouldn’t have gotten there without the advice I got at Woodhouse.
I would highly recommend Woodhouse to any recorder player – from amazing concerts to masterclasses, workshops to evening strolls in the countryside and getting to know each other in the pub, it was utterly brilliant!’
Heidi Fardell is a freelance recorder player, music tutor and workshop director. Heidi performs regularly with early music groups Fiori Musicali and Saltarello Ensemble. She also composes and and performs improvisations for silent film society, Assembly Cinema.
Heidi gained her Bmus (Hons) and Mmus in performance qualifications at Goldsmiths University (1998-2004) and studied recorders with a variety of tutors including Louise Bradbury, Dan Laurin, Katriina Boosey and Peter Holtslag.
Alongside her recorder playing, Heidi is also a respected musician in education. In 2006 she began her post as a recorder tutor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Junior department and has taught in a wide variety of educational settings across London and Oxfordshire. With her colleagues in Saltarello ensemble Heidi creates bespoke musical workshops for a variety of clients who have included Kensington Palace, the Royal Festival Hall, Handel House Museum, Tate Britain and the National Gallery.
Heidi currently lives in Oxfordshire with her partner and 2 children. Here she has a private teaching practice and works as a specialist recorder tutor in schools and at Trinity Laban.
Heidi’s memories of Woodhouse:
‘I came to the Woodhouse course, so nervous and so excited. Excited to be with so many recorder players, to have lessons with so many great teachers, to play with a real life harpsichordist and theorbo player (!), to learn loads of new music. Nervous because I worried about making mistakes, playing in front of all these amazing teachers and other students. I was going on my own, without friends. It felt very surreal but like I belonged, all at the same time.
To say I was pleased that I took the plunge is an understatement. In a short time, I learnt a lot, not just about music, the recorder, ensemble playing (and so much more!) but also about myself. I gained confidence and friends. As Sarah (Jeffery) mentions in her memories, ‘friends for life’ (we met at Woodhouse!) The course was supportive and nurturing but also challenging and stimulating.
I came away on an enormous high. I went back for more the following year and other courses that Annabel and team have organised . Ever since, I have encouraged all of my students to take that plunge too and go to Woodhouse Recorder Week’