Crossing the floor, Louise Jordan gazes out at the sea of faces staring intently at her. “What sort of music would you say that is then?“ she asks, noting the level of concentration etched on their features.
“Classical?“ someone proffers. “Folk?“ another chimes in. “Acoustic?“ a few suggest.
“I suppose you could classify it as all three,“ says Louise, pulling the body of her guitar across her thigh and launching into another song.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a music lesson.
Louise Jordan used to be, after all, an east London secondary school teacher, educating 11 to 15-year-olds in humanities.
But it’s not, it’s a gig, and she’s given up her teaching career to pursue her passion for music.
“It got to the point where I had to make a decision, one way or another,“ she explains.
“I was leaving the classroom at about 6.30pm and rushing across London to get to a show, it just became completely unmanageable.
“I didn’t choose to go to a music college and neither did I study music at university, I went down the academic route, which was a really difficult decision at the time to make.
“I studied law at Birmingham University and while there did a lot of youth work, so got into teaching and music became more of a hobby.
“I wanted to work with young people and make school a bit more challenging and exciting.
“Teaching is something I still feel strongly about, but I got tired of the bureaucracy of the job, all the paperwork, the standards, which stop you from concentrating on the students in the classroom, it became frustrating.
“But music was always with me it was a huge part of my life, it was, it is, my calling and there is no way of getting away from that.“ Proficient in guitar, cello, piano and singing, she released her second album Florilegium, inspired by her move from Wanstead Flats to west Hampshire and its surrounding countryside, independently at the end of last year.
Now she has embarked on a month- long tour, and is set to bring her style of stirring, classical acoustic folk music to Loughton Folk Club on February 28.
“I always had a lot of encouragement in terms of my songwriting and singing from folk clubs in east London.
“Loughton is a great club, with a really supportive local community. I visted the club when it first started and in a way they’ve adopted me,“ she laughs.
“They don’t have a PA set up, it’s all acoustic. It’s a community of people who really love and support music, everyone is really welcoming.
“I’ll be playing songs from my latest album and I’ve lyrically reworked another song, which is controversial in the folk music world.
“I find touring really exciting, I still get the adrenaline and I don’t feel too nervous as people who come along are there to see you and tend to know and like what you do.
“I suppose taking centre stage isn’t too far removed from teaching, except you have to earn students’ attention, but with an audience you have it unconditionally from the start.“ Louise Jordan will perform at Loughton Folk Club, Station Road, Loughton, on February 28. Details: www.loughtonfolkclub.btck.co.uk or www.louisejordan.co.uk