Reuben Vincent

Reuben Vincent

Reuben Vincent is a freelance musician working as a composer, producer and private music teacher, based from his purpose built recording studio in Bagillt, Flintshire, North Wales, UK. His main instrument is the piano although he is also known for a "mean" solo on the Kazoo!!!

Prelude

20 year old Felix Mendelssohn by James Warren Childe, 1829

Back in 2009, I did an internet search one day to see if there were any fellow composers living near me. To my surprise the top search result was a brief article on Felix Mendelssohn’s visit to North Wales, UK! In all the years that I had known of Mendelssohn and his music, I had never heard of him coming to North Wales, especially as he stayed for ten days in the little village of Rhydymwyn which is a mere seven miles away from my house! My excitement was further heightened when I read in the article, that as well as working on several of his famed compositions during his stay, he also wrote three piano pieces specifically for the daughters of his host as a farewell present! As a pianist and composer myself, I impatiently waited for these compositions to arrive in the post so that I could find out what this great nineteenth century musical legend had written in my very own community! More information was contained in the music book’s Preface which intrigued me further and set me on a fascinating journey of research into a little known area of music history, even amongst locals!

Let me share with you a little of what I’ve discovered so far on my adventure…

 

First of Ten Visits to Britain, 21st April – 28th November, 1829

In 1829, the famous German composer Mendelssohn visited Britain for the first time. He was just 20 years old and having completed his education, his wealthy banking father offered to fund a three year tour of Europe to help him “find himself as a man and as an artist.” After several months soaking up the rich music scene in London, Mendelssohn journeyed up to Scotland with his travelling companion Karl Klingemann and there found inspiration for what would later become his ‘Scottish’ Symphony No. 3 in A minor (op. 56) and his Hebrides Overture ‘Fingal’s Cave’ (op. 26). After departing from Glasgow and journeying through the Lake District on the top of the Mail Coach at the impressive speed of

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Someone once said that “the most important word in the English language is a person’s name!” These profound words underline the importance of properly using the names of our music students. The first step in developing any relationship with another human is to learn their name. Our name is the means to identify us from the crowd. It becomes part of our personality. It always impresses me when someone I don’t know too well, remembers and calls me by my forename. To me, this says a lot about them as a person. Why! All of us parents have spent much time agonising over what to call our children, it’s important that that effort should not be wasted!!! But isn’t this obvious?

Let me tell you about one of my  [···]

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How do you get your student to be self motivated and to enjoy practicing their song? Harder still, how do you encourage them to play their pieces with musical feeling, especially if the student is a young child, a distracted teenager or a busy adult? I have learnt that they need to make an emotional connection with their piece. But how do you make possible the sometimes seemingly impossible? Easy! Let me share some of my tried and tested methods for accessing the ‘Story Behind the Song.’

1 Personal responsibility

Wherever possible, I let the student choose their next piece! Sometimes, if I have a certain technique in mind that needs developing, I will offer them a choice between two or three songs that I know will help them in that endeavour. Importantly, this will also make them feel in charge by choosing the final piece. Because THEY are deciding, they are more likely to succeed because they have taken personal responsibility for some of their learning decisions.

2 Inspiration

I like to give them a personal performance of their chosen piece to show them simply what a great composition they have chosen and how much FUN their piece is for ME. I ask them to sit in my chair where I can maintain good eye contact with  [···]

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