In Conversation with a Musician: What do the arts mean to you?
Em Craig is currently studying Jazz Saxophone at The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. Aspiring for a career in the arts as professional saxophonist, I sat down with Em to ask them about what the concept ‘The Art’s’ means to them as a musician.
What’s your musical background and what attracted you to studying and having a career in the arts?
I grew up playing saxophone and listening to a lot of music, initially the music around me as a child, the music my parents listened to, and then gradually branching out into further fields. I found discovering new music very exciting in my early teenage years. It allowed me to express myself in new ways through both playing and listening. This is what drove me to a musical career.
Why do you think studying music at a higher level is a worthwhile commitment?
Through higher musical education, one learns all the necessary skills to be a professional musician. Some of these including gigging etiquette, how to run a business and necessary technical skill to play music. These are all great, however, in my opinion, the best aspect of studying music in a higher-level institution is the personal and professional relationships which you build. Many of the people in your institution will be your future colleagues, meaning that the time you spend there can be extremely valuable down the line.
Could you describe your creative process and what are the integral elements to creating and performing music?
For the music I like to play the most, free and experimental jazz, the most important thing is to play with conviction. If you have an idea, it’s really important to commit to it and see it through as without it the music begins to lose its meaning. It requires both confidence and vulnerability to play well.
How do you feel your work as a musician benefits the local community around you?
I do work in schools across wales as part of the charity LMN providing musical performances and workshops to those who may not have access to these experiences otherwise. There is always a marked improvement in the mood and energy in a school after one of these performances, thus showing the effect that music can have on a community.
Interview undertaken by the Maker’s Digital intern, Anna Craig.