A Day In The Life

It’s a question I seemed to get asked a great deal; a bit like the short interview columns you get at the back of magazines………….A Day In The Life………….of some celebrity or other.  Why people want to know what a day in my life is I’ll never know, but it never stops people asking.  I’ve never had a set week let alone a set day.  But I’ll try to give you an example.

I always have been and always will be a night owl, mornings are not for me.  It’s not that I don’t like them, I just don’t function at that time in the morning.  So no matter what’s gone on the evening before, I made the effort to be up between 9am and 10am.  I always head downstairs and put the kettle on then while I wait the dogs get out into the garden, followed shortly by the ferrets, however never together; our dogs and ferrets don’t mix.  My schedules are never set in stone so after breakfast and getting dressed I head into the office which is conveniently located in the back garden.  Computers and printers get switched on and an email check is always first on the list.  Emails quite often dominate my life; there may be something that needs attention in which case it occupies the rest of the morning.  If not, then I go through a list of updates for my various web sites and check on social media.  For the moment I focus on Facebook and Twitter.  At various times during the morning there will be short but essential coffee breaks, at least three.

Afternoons can be a day in the office working on web development, updating sites and social media as well as any tech support for clients.  If I have time I’ll load up Sibelius and work on some music.  It might be an arrangement for Theatre Voices, an arrangement for my own repertoire or something for my Charles Dexter Ward project (a new musical).

Late afternoon means getting organised to go out; it might be a Theatre Voices rehearsal which I take as often as possible; or it might be a performance of One Day More, either at a theatrical venue or a corporate venue such as a hotel.  Theatre Voices is a unique project and has been running well for some time.  Plans are underway to expand but the difficulty is finding a good venue for rehearsal purposes.  Our Theatre Voices Ambleside group has a concert coming up; all the music is organised, venue and publicity material are done but I need to find a drummer/percussionist.  Not knowing anyone local it will be down to finding someone local from the Musicians Union directory.  If I have a performance then I’ll pick up my usual suit carrier with my outfit; the laptop and audio interface where all the tracks reside with of course a USB backup just in case.  In some cases I’ll also take my own PA and mixer but I find that most venues have an in-house system.

On the occasions where I’m not out, the time is spent in the office at the computer; it could be doing any number of things from writing, programming, designing, music composing or arranging or even recording tracks.  I keep a vast library of instrumental samples so my work has a very realistic sound to it.  90% of recording involves a midi keyboard and the computer paired up with my sample library, but occasionally I have to record audio such as vocals, in which case I have a mobile rig which I set up in the living room which has very nice acoustics however I’m often limited to daytimes since the kids are home from school around 4.30pm.

Although we have a home telephone and broadband in the house I have a separate line for calls and broadband in the office; it keeps me independent and I also find that one connection between five doesn’t work when three are teenagers with iphones, laptops and Netflix to watch.

It’s common for me to work evenings but I always draw the line at 9pm when the office closes down for the day.  So unless I’m away performing or rehearsing I can manage a bedtime between 1am and 2am.  If I’m away there are times I stay over and am home the morning of the following day, but more often I make it home that evening; after an hour of winding down I’m ready for bed.

Weekends don’t differ from any other day or routine so I do often forget what day of the week it is but then I don’t get those Monday morning blues.  I love my work and love what I do.

I’m fairly strict about my scheduling and use Microsoft Outlook to keep track of everything, although my entire timetable is on my main office computer, I do carry a paper page a day diary to keep track of things when I’m out and about.  The only difficulty I do have is prioritising work; there is always something to do so often need to keep on top of what is most important or time sensitive.

It may not sound the most exciting work life, but I’m in control of my own work and my own schedule and that makes a big difference.