Next up in our new Lockdown Stories series where we speak to those who have used music to get through the pandemic is Leanne Rae.
Leanne is a pianist from Cambridge who can be regularly found performing around the city. She openly calls the piano “her first love” - something we can definitely relate to! When her performances came to a halt, Leanne turned inwards and was able to use this time to enhance her skills and continue to develop her love for piano.
Tell us a little more about yourself and your musical history
“My name is Leanne Rae - I was a performer before the pandemic happened. The earliest memory of music that I can think of is just playing our upright piano, I would just sit there for hours - Piano was my first love to be honest. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I would just be in awe of it, I had no concept of time at all, I just loved playing it.
My parents pushed me to learn when I was younger, so I had lessons and was classically trained, which I’m really thankful for now. I have quite an overactive mind, so music has really helped me in that way to wander through my thoughts and kind of process myself.
The transition from learning piano to becoming a performer has taken a long time for me to master as I’ve had to become comfortable with being uncomfortable - If that makes sense! I’m quite lucky to do what I do and whilst this pandemic has come at a horrible time, you’ve just got to be positive haven’t you!”
How has music helped you throughout lockdown?
“Music has really helped me gather my thoughts, it’s helped me find comfort going back to old songs and listening to artists you respect and finding things in common you have with them. Being restricted is really hard for an artist because we’re constantly testing boundaries, but right now we can’t. So it’s been difficult having to restrict myself and not be so spontaneous.
At the same time though, it’s been great having time to write songs! I’ve had time to write and understand what it is that I want to say and why I should be a performer. So that’s been quite inspiring for me. Music has also given me comfort and made me feel alive. Everyone feels quite numb at the moment, not being able to get out and have physical contact with each other, so music has really helped me in that way.
I definitely think that music isn’t the best medicine, but it sure helps! It’s just feeling like you’re moving forward and that there’s a way out which is something we all need at the moment.”
What do you think someone can gain from learning an instrument?
“It’s the word play. We still need to play in our adult lives and learn and grow. I think music is a great way of going back to basics, we are basically like bigger children, so learning an instrument whilst we’re restricted is a great way to tap into that. Unlike most things, not everyone has a lot of space in their homes but you can always fit an instrument in there and easily store it away!
I think learning an instrument really helps develop you as a person and putting the time in - it takes a long time to learn an instrument and there’s always new stuff to learn.
What do you think the future of music might look like and what are you most excited about for the coming year?
"I have no idea, but i think it’s going to be really exciting and I think from all the different perspectives and stories that are going to come out of this in our art and aspects of our life. I think in music that is going to be really exciting to see!
I’m excited about just being spontaneous again - I don’t work well with routine so I have to mix it up. But ultimately, it’s just being around other humans - I’ve never been a cuddly person, but I love people and to be close to them again would be nice. It’s made me realise that music is important and it really helps a lot of people!”
Be sure to follow Leanne’s social pages here and tell her Millers sent you! If you have an incredible lockdown story to share, we'd love to hear it! Contact us today or share your sound on social media using the #MillersMusic to feature on our channels!