I spend a lot of time sitting in traffic in Sheffield, travelling to lessons, rehearsals, friends' houses, the gym. I do walk quite a bit too, and the effects of that traffic are often quite evident in the air you breathe in the city centre. Sheffield is lucky though, to be home to the research and development of 'catalytic' material, and to be showing that off in creative ways. There's Simon Armitage's 'catalytic poem' In Praise of Air which hangs on a banner from one of the University of Sheffield's tall buildings, inspiring travellers with its wonderful words at the same time as absorbing some of that bad stuff from the air. And at Sheffield Hallam University, opposite the train station, this new bit of catalytic magic has appeared. Good news for those of us attempting to get round the city and breathe at the same time.
But as a woodwind player (and sometimes singer). thoughts of breathing automatically take me back to thoughts of music. I was really struck by the words on these walls - not only do they describe what the catalytic material is doing, but for me they sum up what's happening when we're learning and playing music. We're constantly trying, changing and absorbing new things. Whatever instrument you play, you're 'transforming the air' into music - what an amazing thought.
ps want to learn some new things (and maybe see the catalytic poems too) - there's still a few places left on our workshops with the wonderful Dr. Jessica Quiñones in Sheffield this weekend, click here to book.
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