I’m on a train travelling through the beautiful Peak district. I’m surrounded by hills, streams, quaint little towns and sheep — lots of sheep. At the same time I can hear the hum of the train, the chatter of people and my own thoughts processing the conference I have just attended and thinking ahead to family life when I get home — the symphony of life.
Music for me, is at the core of my life. Songs constantly fill my head, household sounds become the rhythm to a new beat. Listening to it affects my emotions, writing it conveys my thoughts and feelings, creating music with family and friends builds community — whether in the studio or jamming around our slightly out of tune piano.
Teaching and producing music passes that life-enriching gift on.
Whatever my mood, thoughts, or the days events — music enhances it. I have a particular album that is my go to when the going gets tough. I have music to work to. Music to drive to, dance with the kids to, music that draws me close to God, music that enables me to release pent up emotions. I’ve spent many years sharing music with others — through choirs, teaching, performing and mentoring. The power of music never ceases to amaze me — to see how it can transform a person’s emotional state. To see someone arrive with the weight of the world on their shoulders, yet leave with a smile on their face.
They say the things you should pursue in life, are the activities during which you lose track of time. Creating music does that for me. Even back when I was a child, growing up in a musical family, I have such fond memories of jam sessions around the piano with my Dad. Time stood still as we fought over the different instruments and who was going to play what. I am in such a privileged position getting to do what I love for my work. When we head into the Family Table studio with the basis of an idea, my adrenaline starts pumping and time stands still. We begin the creative process of turning those beginnings into a completed work, whether that be a song or a piece of film music.
The process rarely follows the same pattern. Sometimes we head into the studio with a full song written on guitar or piano, and a clear idea of the rest of the instrumentation in our minds. Then ensues the unique language of trying to describe what we can hear in our heads — often involving mime actions and made-up words. Watching the waveforms appear on the screen and building the layers of sound as we add other instruments, crafting and shaping the sound into a finished piece of music gives me such a buzz.
At other times, the page is completely blank. I may have a short film that Ben has sent a rough edit of that I need to create a soundtrack for; I find these tasks the most scary — what if I can’t come up with something decent and fitting? Once the doubts are cast aside, you just have to jump in. Play with some ideas and sometimes, just hit record and improvise over the top of the film. Watching it whilst I play generates the seed of a theme or motif.
As a record label, we want to support other musicians as they grow and develop their own music and tell their own stories. We work closely with our artists — some of which, we have been walking with from the very early days of their musical journeys as they began to discover their sound and writing style. This has to be one of my favourite parts of the job — watching confidence grow, talent come to light, stories told in the most unique and beautiful ways. We’re in the humbling and privileged position of helping them to grow their roots, followed by unfurling their wings.
We have our first artist release coming later this year and I’m so excited to journey with them through this process. I can’t wait for you to hear the amazing talent they have when their debut EP is released! Watch this space.
At The Family Table, we’re not interested in the mass-market, follow the crowd music that doesn’t reach the soul. We want to tell stories, through music and film. To provide a platform for artists to share their experiences as they walk through life. To bring elements of our journeys, and that of our artists — good and bad, so that listeners know they don’t stand alone — someone else may have walked a similar path. In the way that only music can, they can be encouraged, cheered on, upheld by music that touches souls.
As we venture through the early days of our Family Table journey, we are working to bring this together for our official launch. Ben and I have been friends for a number of years andusic has always played a big part in that. We quickly discovered that our musical styles and skills complemented each others and worked well together. Now, as business partners, we are working on a project of musical conversations that share our values and ethos, and bring together a demonstration of our hopes and dreams for The Family Table.
From simple folk melodies that tell stories close to our hearts, to anthemic moments that push our creative ideas further, we are excited to see where the conversations around the family table lead us. Look out for it when it’s released on 6th April 2019.
~ Sarah Ballard
A creative agency, rooted in family values.
We tell better stories through music and film.