Alexis Cairns

Saxophonist and educator

A little help from my friends/blog readers…..? — January 20, 2013

A little help from my friends/blog readers…..?

Hello to you all on this cold, snowy Sunday evening 🙂

So, how are those new year resolutions coming along? Have you quit smoking? Joined a gym? Consumed less alcohol? I bet you had the best intentions to be good for the next twelve months but for some reason they have fallen at the wayside. The challenge I set myself for 2013 is slowly turning into the equivalent of joining a gym and not going to it, so I have decided to do something to change that.

At Christmas I came up with the idea to compose more but wondered how I would go about doing this alongside teaching. I thought about writing a tune for each month of the year, to spread out the huge task of writing brand new material, but even then it is not quite going the way I had planned it. I do admit I have a lazy streak in me but I do not think that is the reason I am not reaching for the manuscript paper and jotting musical ideas down. It is because, just like everyone else with their resolutions, I am finding it difficult to get started. When I was at school and university I was made to write music as part of my course otherwise I would fail, but in the real world there are no deadlines and no one to show all my work to so the urge to do something disappears. I do not want to go down the path to find when 31 December comes around I have not one single tune I could happily take into a studio to record. So now I am asking for some help and advice, just like anyone who needs help to stop smoking or get fit:

How do you go about writing a tune?

Do you sit at a piano and play around with some chords? Do you have a motif running around your head? Is it all working on a bass riff you came up with by accident? I will be interested to see what answers I get because everyone will have a different method the next person. Please leave a comment below on your methods of music writing and I hope there is one out there that suits me (please note I cannot play the piano; is that the reason for all the above?!)

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your responses.


A new year, a new challenge — January 1, 2013

A new year, a new challenge

Happy new year!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and managed not to overindulge on the mince pies and sherry. I spent the festive season at home in Newcastle with my family and caught up with some old friends as well. As I write this I am still in the north east but heading back to Leeds tomorrow to prepare for Matt and Phred’s in Manchester on the 3rd of this month (9pm start, see you there!).

Throughout 2012 I set myself the challenge of taking a photo every day and I am pleased to say I did it! 366 photos uploaded to Flickr and for a limited time you can have a look at each one of them, with a short description, by clicking here:

Day 1

Having committed to something for twelve months I decided I wanted to try something else. It’s in the early stages of what I plan to do but I will be updating this blog every month with what I have done. What I have in mind is bigger than a photo a day but I hope by 31 December 2013 I’ll be happy with what I achieve.

I hope 2013 brings you success and happiness. In the words of my dad, “Make it happen!”