A day in the life of... Richard Deering

On the “Today” programme this morning there was a discussion about the comparative wealth of the pensioner age group and, being the age whereby I would have retired if I had a “proper” job, this led me to reflect upon the way in which musicians are feted, when younger, by promoters and composers, but then almost forgotten for 20 years but become madly busy again in their later years, as if almost being rediscovered.

Having spent the first few weeks of this year examining in India and adjudicating in Portsmouth, today I am off to Devon to rehearse with a brass player who has engaged me as his accompanist for an FTCL examination. Whilst the sound of John Humphreys voice and the smell of toast hung in the air at home this morning I had a student come for a lesson, as I was only free to teach her if she came at 07.30, and we explored the emotional rollercoaster of Schumann’s “Kreisliana” – I am yet to hear if the neighbours enjoyed it too! In Devon this afternoon I shall be rehearsing the quirky and somewhat unpianistic Euphonium Concerti of Messrs.’ Horwitz and Sparke, followed, this evening by dining in Taunton with the organisers of tomorrow’s “Young Musician” competition that I am adjudicating.

Over the next four weeks I shall be adjudicating in Doncaster and Bath and examining diplomas in Bognor, a local charity concert performance with Chlöe Hanslip, and performing the Sterndale-Bennett 4th Piano Concerto in Exeter. In the cracks between I am teaching occasionally and playing for a few Grade 8 examinations in the neighbourhood. What I should be doing at my age is watching cricket, going on long National Trust walks and tending to my allotment but, somehow, I get that in too with the Surrey fixture list and 2 afternoons per week for the allotment marked in my diary like professional engagements and to be observed regardless of the weather!

I feel guilt about the fact that today is my daughter’s birthday, so dinner is postponed for two days, and the monthly delivery of cat food has to be taken in by a neighbor, yet again, but I am now part of the wealthier and busier retirement group mentioned this morning and, quietly, I am enjoying it!

What with overseas examining tours, adjudicating bookings and concerts booked for myself and my quartet over the next eighteen months, this fierce activity looks set to continue but, am I taking the opportunities that someone younger should be enjoying, as they say in “proper” job situations?

As I travel on the train from my rehearsal to Taunton I receive an e-mail inviting me to adjudicate in Trinidad in 2020; I shall be almost due a free Television License by then!