Siobhan Clough wants change. The Royal Academy of Music graduate believes RNS Moves is where this can happen. This is because of the perceptions that are shifting within the orchestra, and the trust being developed between its members.
“What’s brilliant is everyone’s really understanding and great at listening; it’s a team. Everyone has an opportunity to shine and work in a challenging but also familiar way,” she says. “For me to be in a string setup, but also working with Clarence on Headspace [a state-of-the-art instrument designed for Clarence Adoo MBE] is a new world; it’s really exciting.”
“I’m hearing impaired. So when you blend into a section, it’s not like you ask, “can you say that again?” Or, “I’m not used to lip-reading your accent. So the inclusive scene was something I really wanted to explore.”
When Siobhan was three years old, her consultant thought it would be a good idea to engage with music. After exploring several instruments, like violas and bass, she discovered the violin. She describes it as “a match made in heaven.”
Siobhan struggled to find ensembles with an inclusive setup. She wanted to be an orchestral player but had to overcome barriers to participation. During the winter lockdown of 2020, Siobhan joined RNS Moves. She loved the different way of working and how much she was learning.
“When we first started, I was expecting it to be a standard setup: you have your repertoire, you sit down, and you play it at the end of the week. But RNS Moves is far more about improv, changing things up and modernising old music,” Siobhan says. “When you’ve got instruments that are either nonstandard or the music you’re playing isn’t written with the instruments you have, that’s a really good way of going about it.”
“I love the improv aspect, and that has definitely come because of RNS Moves,” she says.
Siobhan hopes the wider audience, especially young disabled individuals feel empowered and may see a career path when watching RNS Moves.
“It doesn’t have to be rigidly classical or orchestral; it could be with a Headspace and playing around with old music, says Siobhan. For them to see there’s a clear place for them, if that’s what they want moving forward, is meaningful.”
“We’re not exactly perfect. We’re not there yet. Hopefully, this isn’t what life’s going to look like for everyone in 50 years, but it is a good point to start conversations.”