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Making Musical Instruments From Carrots at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Free demonstrations at Birmingham music festival
If you have ever wanted to know how to make a musical instrument out of a vegetable you're in luck!

Tim Cranmore, from Malvern in Worcestershire, has been making recorders from wood since 1980, but on February 16 and 17, 2018, he will be showing budding musicians at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire how to make their own instruments from the humble root vegetable.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Tim Cranmore, Carrots, Recorders, London Vegetable Orchestra, Birmingham International Recorder and Early Music Festival, Free, Classical Music
Musical vegetables: Tim Cranmore with his carrot recorder


Tim says: "The similarities between a boxwood tree used traditionally to make a woodwind instrument and a carrot are glaringly obvious if you think about it. They are both organic, cylindrical and grow in the ground. However, one is orange and the other isn't, although this distinction is a minor one when it comes to design.

"By following the principles of recorder construction with a carrot, it is inevitable that a working instrument will be born. However, to get one to play over an octave, in tune and in G major, requires 40 years of experience. To make one in real time, in front of an audience, requires nerves of steel."

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Tim Cranmore, Carrots, Recorders, London Vegetable Orchestra, Birmingham International Recorder and Early Music Festival, Free, Classical Music
Do it yourself: A carrot mid-transformation into an instrument


Tim is a founding member of the London Vegetable Orchestra. Alongside performing as 'Principal Carrot', he is also the group's master instrument maker. As well as preparing carrot recorders fresh for every performance, he also creates courgette trumpets, butternut squash trombones and pumpkin percussion.

Tim's free 'home grown' demonstrations in Birmingham join several professional concerts, workshops and participatory events taking place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire between February 15 and February 18 as part of the second Birmingham International Recorder and Early Music Festival. Click here for details of all the events.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Tim Cranmore, Carrots, Recorders, London Vegetable Orchestra, Birmingham International Recorder and Early Music Festival, Free, Classical Music
Musical: Play a tune on your carrots


Martin Perkins, Early Music Lecturer and Instrument Curator, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, says: "For many of us, the recorder evokes mixed memories of the school classroom, but it should not be underestimated, as it allows young performers to quickly develop their musical skills. Performed to a high standard, the recorder is a wonderful flute that can evoke both majestic and subtle sounds, yet comes with a playing technique that hasn't changed in its 700-year history.P>"From Renaissance and Baroque greats to modern artists such as Kate Bush, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones not to mention various modern classical quartets the recorder continues to inspire, providing the perfect gateway for people to learn more about Early Music, and we are delighted that our Festival will be able to showcase this incredible and versatile instrument.''

Tim Cranmore's carrot recorder demonstrations will take place in the Level 2 foyer of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire between 2pm and 3pm on both February 16 and 17.

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Why? Learn what you can do with your leftover vegetables
When: February 16 & 17 (Carrot demonstrations); February 15 - 18 (Birmingham International Recorder and Early Music Festival)
Phone: 0121 331 5000
Where: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Jennens Road, Birmingham City University, B4 7AP
Cost: Carrot demonstrations are free; various prices for concerts and workshops.
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