My TV debut was no Oscar performance but at least the buffet was good/ Burnley's award winning concert pianist and teacher Joanna Garcia

Award winning concert pianist Joanna Garcia, who is also the director of her own piano school, this week launches her own column with the Burnley Express.
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Joanna went to the former Walshaw High School in Burnley, before completing her A’ levels at Nelson and Colne College. Following this, she gained a first class honours Bachelor of Music degree from Manchester University in 1996, where she was also presented with three Hargreaves Music Prizes and the Sir Thomas Beecham Medal for outstanding achievement.

Continuing her studies at the RNCM Joanna was offered a two-year junior fellowship in accompanying. She also worked as staff accompanist at Chetham’s School of Music, and taught piano at Manchester University. She has performed with eminent musicians such as Sir John Tomlinson in a concert shown on the South Bank Show, had a long-standing duo partnership with viola player Robin Ireland, performed a recital in Buenos Aires with tenor Roberto García López, who is also her husband, and performed with the Lindsay Quartet in their Sheffield Festival.

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My Burnley: Multi talented concert pianist Joanna Garcia tells us why she is pro...
This week Burnley's award winning concert pianist and teacher Joanna Garcia launches her column with the Burnley ExpressThis week Burnley's award winning concert pianist and teacher Joanna Garcia launches her column with the Burnley Express
This week Burnley's award winning concert pianist and teacher Joanna Garcia launches her column with the Burnley Express
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Performance fear struck her back in 2000, however, and she re-trained as a primary teacher and went on to spend 17 years in several schools around the North West as teacher, assistant head and later deputy head before a series of life events five years ago made her re-evaluate everything and ultimately return to the music she loved and missed.

She now has what she describes as a ‘crazily’ busy teaching schedule as working with students nationally and internationally.

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ caused a bit of controversy the other week, didn’t it? Apparently, lots of viewers had contacted the BBC to complain that the use of “canned” laughter was off-putting. It got me thinking about audiences.

You’re an audience member yourself right now, of course, as you’re reading this. Sure, you’re a reader, but each time any of us writes, we write for an audience and a purpose. Therefore, you ARE that audience. We’re audiences each day for TV programmes, YouTube and TikTok videos, and radio music. It would be difficult to get through the day without participating in some form of audience or other, whether willingly or


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This whole audience discussion reminded me of when I used to live in Manchester as a young adult, and my friends and I had a phase of being audience members on as many TV shows as possible. One day, we acquired tickets to be in the audience of the Krypton Factor - do you remember that show?

It boasted general knowledge rounds, logic problems and those 3D plastic puzzles to solve (I know I’d have got frustrated with those and would probably have thrown a piece of the puzzle in a rage in the direction of Gordon Burns and his neatly coiffured hair) ... not to mention the famous assault course that, to me, was the stuff of nightmares.

When the programme was finally aired, we made sure to have a VHS cassette in the video recorder and we dutifully and painstakingly recorded the show for posterity. Clearly, we needed an audience ourselves. Being on TV was no everyday occurrence. And we HAD

been top-drawer audience members: we’d clapped with enthusiasm, shown appropriately interested facial expressions, and made sure to sit nicely and not look as though we were curling up in a dressing gown to watch ‘Gone with the Wind’ over a hot chocolate and a box of Matchmakers.

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We drummed up quite a number of guests for our “TV Première” house party. We put on some food, the drinks were bought, and I was happy to say everyone we had invited turned up for our TV debut. When the moment arrived, we all gathered round our TV set, and we urged everyone to watch and listen carefully. What excitement to have an actual audience to appreciate OUR performance as audience


We’d already rewound it to the appropriate point, and the faces of our friends were a picture of anticipation and awe. I can’t deny that it took a few attempts to fast forward and rewind the tape to the appropriate spot, but there we were. We paused it and everything. The camera was trained on the three of us, sitting there like THE ideal, attentive audience members (in our view, at least).

Now, I’m sure Dame Judi Dench doesn’t receive responses such as “Is that it?” to her work. I’m also pretty certain that Tom Hanks isn’t met with slightly puzzled expressions at HIS movie premières. But turns out that two slightly blurry seconds of watching three girls sitting on studio seats watching a few contestants answering Gordon Burns is NOT deemed sufficiently worthy of an Oscar. Nor a party, for that matter.

Genius is never recognised during its lifetime, I reckon. At least the buffet was good.

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