Composers Corner - Kay Charlton

Kay teaches brass and curriculum music, specialising in KS2 and First Access/WCET. She completed the Teaching Musician MA course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in 2018, has presented her research into WCET at conferences and has led on CPD for Music Education Hubs. She plays with Bollywood Brass Band whose CD Carnatic Connection was nominated for a Songlines Magazine World Music Award (2017). Kay composes and arranges for the band and leads on their education work, founding the Bollywood Brass Academy in 2017. Her book of WCET repertoire, ‘Are You Ready?’ is published by Warwick Music, and she has composed pieces for Trinity’s Initial (2015/2018) and Grade 1 (2018) piano syllabus. Publications through Spartan Press include ‘Bollywood Blast!’ a series of brass and wind tutor books in a Bollywood style, and Tubalosity (2014) which was selected to be premiered at Indiana University, USA as part of the Fifteen Minutes of Fame series. In 2017 Kay was commissioned by Warwick Music to compose songs for a new KS 1 scheme of work for the pBuzz.

www.kaycharlton.co.uk @KayBollywood

We put some questions to Kay to find out more about the woman behind the music...

• Who is your biggest inspiration?

I love listening to all kinds of music, but In terms of composing I have to cite ABBA! Their songs are sophisticated, with catchy melodies, great band arrangements and harmony vocals that make you want to sing along - I aspire to that in my compositions. Not to mention their costumes…

• Which musician, past or present, would you most like to meet?

Well, I was lucky enough to meet the great South African trumpeter Hugh Masakela once. He came to do a workshop at a school where I was teaching and I was introduced to him as the trumpet teacher! As he shook my hand he said, with a twinkle in his eye, “I’m still learning”…

• Where is the most unusual place that you have performed?

With Bollywood Brass Band I’ve played in some amazing places - especially for weddings in India which are very lavish and over-the-top. An unusual gig was playing for the opening of a new road tunnel in Oslo - we were playing to an empty stretch of underground road - and the King of Norway stopped to listen to us on his way to open the tunnel!

• What is your favourite meal?

Does chocolate count as a meal?

• What hobbies do you have, other than music?

It’s hard to stop thinking about music, so I love going to the cinema to see a good film. I also love travelling - to musical countries of course!

• What’s one thing could you not live without?

Well, apart from my trumpet of course, I have to say my phone! It’s so useful - I can find out anything I want to, and if I get a musical idea I can sing it into my phone and work on it later.

• What is your favourite piece of music to play?

This varies - it’s often the latest Bollywood tune I’ve arranged…

• How old were you when you first started playing?

I started on the recorder at Primary school then learned the guitar at middle school. I started trumpet lessons when I was about 13 - quite late I think.

• If you didn’t have a career in music, what would you be doing now?

I have no idea! Something in the arts though.

• If there’s one thing you could tell yourself when you were growing up, what would it be?

It will be OK…

• What’s your favourite joke?

Q: What’s Beethoven’s favourite fruit? A: Ba-na-na-naa!

Find all of Kay's music here

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