Face the Music My Life


Face the Music

Documentary. Fifteen-year-old pianist and composer Shane has to compose a piece of music inspired by CBBC and perform it for the first time with a full orchestra on BBC Music Day.


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Transcript


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This is me, rehearsing for the biggest concert I've ever done.

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I've composed a piece for BBC Music Day, all about CBBC,

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and in a few hours' time, will be performing it to an audience of 500.

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But it hasn't been easy.

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It's time to face the music.

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PIANO PLAYS

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My name is Shane and I'm 15.

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I play the piano and I compose my own music.

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I live in Surrey with my dad...

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..my brother Ashlee, who's ten, my sister Channelle, who's nine...

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..and this here is Ruby.

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She's my budgie.

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I would describe myself as a little bit of a nerd.

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I like Latin because it has really complicated grammar.

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I'm not going to give you any clues, so don't mess up.

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HE SPEAKS LATIN Brilliant. Thank you very much.

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I don't really mind being a nerd. At least I've got SOME friends.

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-..No, I'm so thick. Have you put it in yet?

-No.

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'Most days, me and George and Curtly,

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'we all come up to the music department

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'and we spend a little while just messing around and making music.'

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Oscillations was a track that we made.

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It started by accident, where I was playing around with the synth

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and then I found out one day that Shane had just gone and made,

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like, I don't know, 15 versions of it.

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My family is not particularly rich.

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It's really great that I still get to do all these great musical things

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and then I go to this nice private school

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that only the rich kids normally go to.

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I have a music scholarship to go there

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because they were impressed by my piano playing

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and my composing skills.

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Yeah, well, I am his piano teacher,

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but I think his strengths probably lie with his compositional talents.

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Sometimes, they remind me of film music.

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I could see them as a film score.

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Although it's nice to be able to play other people's music,

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I kind of get more out of making my own music

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and being able to perform it.

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Sometimes, Ruby inspires some of my music,

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so there's this one piece called Joshua And Ruby,

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which is about Ruby's old mate, Joshua.

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Sadly, Joshua died and that was sort of like a memorial to Joshua's life.

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I don't live with my mum, because my parents are divorced,

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so I don't ever see her.

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My dad has quite a lot to do,

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because he has to do all our cooking, laundry,

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help me with my music.

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Shane's got no practice regime, no schedule,

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he's a law unto himself when it comes to his music.

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I don't push him to do anything.

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All I do is prompt him and say,

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"Shane, do you remember this is happening?

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"Perhaps you should do some practice." That's about it.

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A dad that doubles up as a kind of manager, but I'm not a manager.

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I'm a dad-ager!

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CHIMING ALERT

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-'Hello, Shane. I'm Andy. Nice to meet you.'

-Hello, Andy.

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So, you must be the musical director of this orchestra.

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'Yes, I am.

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'And I hear lots of good things about you and your composition,

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'so it's going to be exciting few weeks, for us to work together.'

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It will be the first time I've ever played with an orchestra on stage.

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That will be really great.

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'What I need from you is a set of parts for the orchestra,

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'and the turnaround on that's going to be quite tight.

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'I need that, really, by the end of this month, if that's possible.'

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Yes. So, I'll work on some ideas and send you some files.

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It's exciting. I'd like to have my music played. It's also daunting.

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I've got lots of work to do and very little time to get it done.

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I don't know if I'm really going to have the time

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to juggle school and writing these parts.

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Normally, when I start a piece of music,

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I just have, like, a stimulus,

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just a short bit that I want to develop

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that I've had in my mind for a little while.

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And I go home later and I play it on the piano

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and then I carry on writing the piece of music from there.

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Sometimes, I go to sleep and I have a dream and I hear this music

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and I wake up in the morning and play what I've heard.

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It's different for me to have a brief.

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I never normally have a deadline and an outline of what someone wants.

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I need to start writing soon, or I'll fall behind schedule.

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# I'm Hacker T I'm the number one dog

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# In the canine league I'm sitting right at the top

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# So don't mess with me I'm the king of the mutts... #

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This rapper cannot rap.

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# ..But he's got a small weakness An Achilles heel

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# When it comes to dinner time He's Mr Congeal

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# He hates proper food... #

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I think it will be hard to write a piece of music

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about being in a kitchen.

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It's just a new experience for me, but it's a good one,

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because this is pretty much what film composers are told to do.

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# ..Then I'll blend it on brick next time

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# I'll point the finger at Harry Tongue

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# I know, I'll blame it on Coogi. #

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I'd probably say it's quite varied,

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cos you've got sort of a sense of humour in it as well,

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and then you've got these darker programmes.

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So, that could come out in my music a bit.

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So, I could have lots of loud bits and quiet bits

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and just lots of contrast to make it represent the channel bit better.

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Sometimes, you can use Ruby as a judge

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as to whether things are good or not.

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If she starts tweeting along, that's a good sign.

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My main influence for this was probably Wizards vs Aliens.

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So, this could possibly be the wizards.

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HE PLAYS UPLIFTING CHORDS

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And then all the aliens is probably...

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HE PLAYS MOODIER CHORDS

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All these moody and pretty dark chords.

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This is quite a fun piece to play, I think.

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MUSIC PLAYS ON RECORDER

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Yeah, that should be fine. Yes, that's gone well.

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I'll just send it off to Andy for him to give it a listen.

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And get some feedback.

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ALERT

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Very impressed, young man. Let's run with this idea.

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We need another minute or so.

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-'I've got quite a lot of ideas for the rhythm section.'

-Good.

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-'I think that's going to play quite a large role in this piece.'

-OK.

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Can you send me the full piano part, then,

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-by, say, the beginning of next week?

-'Yeah, OK.

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'I'll do that for you and we can orchestrate from there.'

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Absolutely.

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Then we'll be on schedule for getting the parts printed up

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and ready for the orchestral rehearsals the following week.

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All right, Shane, good to talk to you. Take care.

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At school, I have a friend called Stephanie.

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She's a really great cellist

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and, sometimes, I've got her to try playing my music as well.

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You have to combat my awful handwriting at the same time.

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THEY PLAY TOGETHER

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No, sorry.

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-It changes to E major.

-Oh, right, OK.

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It turns out that my music's really difficult to play on the cello.

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HE PLAYS THE CELLO HALTINGLY

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SQUEAKY NOTES

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HE LAUGHS

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Something like that!

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I was quite surprised at how difficult that is to play.

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I might consider making the music for my CBBC project a bit easier,

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because I have to write for a 46-piece orchestra.

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-Oh, wow. So, quite a challenge.

-Yes.

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I'm sure you'll be able to make something really good up

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with a 46-piece orchestra.

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With a deadline to meet,

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I spend the next few days in London with Mark, my producer.

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He helps me to record my ideas

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for the different parts of the orchestra, one instrument at a time,

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until we finish the entire piece.

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But will Andy be happy with it all?

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CHIMING ALERT

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'I've just had a listen through it and it sounds fabulous.

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-'How are you feeling about it?'

-I'm quite happy with it.

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'Cool. All right, well, thank you ever so much

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'for staying on our agreed schedule.

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'That's so important when you're involved in a project like this,

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'making sure that you hit your deadlines,

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'and you've been true to your word with all that, so well done.

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-'Very professional job.'

-Thank you very much.

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'I'm sure the musicians will look forward to meeting you

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'and playing your piece

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'and giving it its world premiere next Friday at the RNCM Theatre.'

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-Yes.

-'All right, I'll see you soon. You take care, then.'

-Bye.

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The biggest performance of my life is now only two days away.

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500 people will be listening to my composition, if it all goes to plan.

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Unfortunately, my biggest fan has to stay behind.

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We've just arrived in Manchester and we've just checked into the hotel.

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We're in this really cool apartment. It's really spacious.

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-We've got a dishwasher, Dad.

-We've got an awesome view of the city.

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It's nice, isn't it?

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Sightseeing over, it's time to get ready for the concert.

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Hello, Andy.

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-How are you? Nice to meet you at last in person.

-I'm great.

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-Welcome to the Royal Northern College of Music.

-Thank you very much.

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I'm going to take you to meet Danny, our arranger and orchestrator.

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-Great.

-He's going to show you how he's done what he's done.

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-I'm sure he's been very busy.

-I'm sure he has. OK, let's go.

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-Here he is.

-Ah, hello.

-Here's Danny.

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-Hello, Danny.

-Good to meet you.

-Danny, this is Shane.

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-Great.

-Cool, well, here's your piece.

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'Danny took the music that I wrote and arranged it

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'so that the orchestra can read it easily.

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'Let's say it's an improvement on my handwriting.'

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Yeah, I think it's a really cool piece.

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-It's dramatic, it flows really well. It's great.

-OK, thank you.

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OK, so it's time to welcome our special guest,

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so let's give him a warm welcome. Where is he? Shane...

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APPLAUSE

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-Want to take a seat at the piano, my friend?

-Sure.

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And we'll play through your masterpiece. All right, everybody?

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Here we go.

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One, two, three, four.

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It's just so awesome being in the auditorium

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and you've got the massive PA and it's blasting out my music.

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It just sounds brilliant.

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I'm so looking forward to the big performance.

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I've really enjoyed working with Andy.

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I've just picked up a lot of advice from him.

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So, it's been very, very helpful.

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The whole experience has really improved me as a composer.

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ORCHESTRA PLAYS: Kashmir by Led Zeppelin

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I think if I manage to get all my music played on such a big scale,

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it could really change my life

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and bring about a lot of improvement financially

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and just in terms of how happy I can be.

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This is a very important moment in my life.

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CHEERING

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..He's here to perform the world premiere

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of his very special composition, Spectrum.

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Would you be kind and give a very warm welcome to our special guests?

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This is Shane.

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MUSIC: Spectrum

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Amazing. That's amazing.

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It reminded me of, like, a James Bond theme.

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It was really good. Everything was really good.

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-Lost for words.

-It was awesome.

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My heart was kind of pounding before the beginning.

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I was just so excited to get on and play it.

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And then it was just kind of euphoric being out there,

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getting to play my piece with a whole orchestra.

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APPLAUSE

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What's really impressive is, he comes out there

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and performs in front of a 500-people audience

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with a 40-piece orchestra behind him like he's been doing it all his life.

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He's an incredibly talented young man and got a bright future, I think.

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Aw, thanks, Andy.

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And if you liked my piece, check out the CBBC website.

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Documentary. Fifteen-year-old pianist and composer Shane is facing his biggest musical challenge yet. He has to compose a piece of music inspired by CBBC and perform it for the first time with a full orchestra at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on BBC Music Day. Shane has to write parts for all 45 instruments and only has three weeks to complete the task.


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