Inside a Musician's Studio: Beverley Johnston

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Inside a Musician's Studio: Beverley Johnston, is the first in a series of faculty workspace tours by Eric Chow, Front of House Coordinator and alumnus of U of T Music.

Describe your current workspace.

I have about a 500 square foot studio which is attached to the garage of our home.

What do you primarily use this space for? (practicing, composing, score study, research, etc.)

I mostly practice in this space.

What does your routine look like in this space? How do you maximize your time while using this space?

I can spend HOURS in my studio. I love it! I get lost in the music that I’m learning and because we live in a rural area, there are very few distractions and being a percussionist, I can make quite a bit of ‘noise’ that does not bother the neighbours since they are not that close to the studio! When I am busy with concert preparation, I usually write myself a practice schedule which really helps me to organize my practice time.

Is this a shared space? If so, how does sharing the space impact your use of it? (scheduling, organization, etc.)

I do not share my space. My husband, composer Christos Hatzis, has his studio on the opposite side of the house, in the basement.

Do you also use this space for teaching? How do you make this space a welcoming learning/teaching environment? (In-person or virtual teaching)

I rarely use the space for personal teaching but because of ‘distanced learning’ during the COVID outbreak, I will be using my studio to teach remotely. I have recently had to install another satellite dish in order to have a good internet connection in my studio. Because all of my concerts have been cancelled since March, I have had time to really clean my studio which has been quite cathartic! This will also be more pleasing to the eye for the students that I will be teaching virtually.

Anything else you would like to add?

As a percussionist, I have had to learn to be more organized with how I place the instruments and playing implements (sticks) in my space. There’s a section for small auxiliary instruments, hardware, gong racks, keyboard instruments, drums, world music instruments, scores, and also an upright piano. When I first had the studio built, I thought there would be ample room for everything, but of course, the space filled up in no time!

Cover image: Shayne Grey Photography. Styled & Coordinated by LIZPR. Remaining photographs supplied by the artist.