A Change of Tempo
A guest blog by Anneke Scott a leading international exponent of the many number of instruments that make up the family of horns.
In 2019 the UK charity Help Musicians launched its latest scheme designed to help and support musicians, a new fund called the Transmission Fund. The Transmission Fund offers grants for emerging and professional musicians in order that they can take the opportunity to focus on developing their creative practices or some form of professional development.
For me the scheme couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m a musician who specialises in playing the older versions of the instrument we know today as the French horn. Like all instruments the horn has developed over the centuries and today many musicians are interested in playing the older versions of the instrument for appropriate repertoire. I had been slowly writing a guide book on playing the instrument and had a lot of material already finished but was craving the opportunity to set some time aside to focus on completing the project.
As a freelance musician it’s hard to ‘take a break’. Like any freelancer our work can be ‘feast or famine’ and often things come in at the last moment. Therefore the Transmission Fund offered a great chance for me. I knew what I wanted, somewhere quiet, away from distractions, where I could really knuckle down and work. I travel a lot and I wanted to make sure I went somewhere that I could travel to by public transport, ideally somewhere sustainable so I started to search ‘creative retreats’ which was how I discovered The Lint Mill.
The set up here couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s amazing just how much work you can get done when someone else is thinking about food, cooking and washing up! Quickly we fell into a nice routine which in retrospect revolved around the wonderful meals. It sounds almost flippant putting it like that but not having to think about these things whilst at the same time being nourished by such hearty meals (oh, the home made crumpets and jam!!!!) really enabled me to get so much done.
The location is breathtakingly beautiful. One other aspect I found really stimulating was the walks right there on the door step. I got into the habit of taking a walk after lunch. This gave me the chance to quietly reflect on the work I had done in the morning and often a moment to focus on what would be the best thing to work on next.
There were so many little things that made this such a rewarding and stimulating experience. Having a piano available and multiple places to work (be it the artist’s studio, the conservatory, downstairs in the living area or upstairs in the airy bedroom) was great when staying for such a length of time. Colin and Debby have the most perfect of light touches. There when you need them, full of really interesting experiences and knowledge (it was really wonderful getting to know more about the sustainability of The Lint Mill) but they also provided me the space I needed to get on with my work.
I’d thoroughly recommend running away to ‘The Mill’ to anyone but especially to those wanting to ‘get away’ and find some sustainable sustenance for both their stomachs and their creative souls!