ARTIST FEATURE: Mia Barham from ‘The Dream: Monash Sessions’

We’re highlighting some of the artists from our recent Dave Douglas release, The Dream: Monash Sessions, which features musicians from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Today we’re featuring woodwind artist Mia Barham, who is a saxophonist and flautist based in Melbourne. Mia is active in the Melbourne big band scene, often playing with big bands such as the Paris Cat Big Band, Jazz Melbourne Big Band and the Not So Big Band on baritone saxophone and performing in Latin groups on flute. Further Mia is a passionate doubler, and loves playing flute and clarinet in musical orchestras. Since coming to Monash University, Mia has been enjoying expanding her alto and small group playing. Mia felt privileged to be a part of the Dave Douglas online recording project and loved collaborating with all the wonderful musicians.

What instrument do you play and can you describe the room you recorded in?

On the recording I performed on flute and alto saxophone. I recorded in quite a large room however had arranged it so that I had pillows behind my microphone to help improve sound quality.

What was the biggest challenge of remote recording and how did it differ from challenges to in person playing?

The biggest challenge I found with remote recording was working on collaboration with the other instruments. It was quite challenging to play a solo knowing that there is meant to be another person soloing with you who has not recorded their part yet. It was also challenging to make sure that we recorded the same articulations/dynamics/tone colours in melodic lines, and all understood the feel of the piece. However, this was valuable lesson, as we had to talk to each other more and think harder about what we were playing and really get to know each other’s playing so that it could resemble being perform together.

How will the musical interactions you’ve had via remote stay in your practice when the lockdown is eased, if at all?

I will definitely continue to record myself and created recorded projects with friends. I found them very useful for analysis and reflecting on my playing and learning more about others. It has improved my playing a lot as I have been able to notice things through many listens to a recording that I may have missed before.

Where do you see yourself and your music fitting into the community of musicians?

To be honest, I’m not sure which path I would like to follow yet. Right now, I am enjoying learning as many new things as I can and exploring a whole heap of different areas. I think the industry has so many wonderful things to offer that I need to try as many of them as I can and that will lead me into an area that I really love.

Where can people learn more about your work?

My YouTube channel is here and my Instagram is here.

The Dream: Monash Sessions is available exclusively on Bandcamp here.