What is your first musical memory? Tell us about your first steps in music.
Coming from a musical family of pianists, singers and brass players, music has always been a part of my life; I almost didn’t get a choice! My first musical memory was playing the organ with my late grandfather at age four, and although I didn’t know him that well, I believe that’s where most of the music genes came from. I started piano at five with my mum, it wasn’t until age eight that I was given my first cornet, which I was originally taught by my dad and then I got a ‘proper teacher’.
Can you remember when you decided to pursue training at conservatoire level? Tell us about that and what led you to that decision.
The decision to study at a conservatoire actually came relatively late on compared to most. I had originally wanted to study geography or take a gap year, and then on deadline day when all the offers were on the table, I realised that trumpet was the thing I enjoyed doing the most, even with the ups and downs that come with it. I believe that it is always a hard decision to commit to one thing from age 18, as no one knows exactly want they want to do at that age, and even at age 23, I still don’t know what the future holds!
What musical training did you embark on before you came to the Academy?
I studied at the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama for six years before I came to the Academy and before that, at Richmond Music Trust. During my time at JGSMD I studied with Andy Mitchell and had the opportunity to perform with a large range of different ensembles - orchestra, big band, brass band, small jazz groups, brass dectet and quintets. I also spent five years as part of the National Youth Brass Band and Children’s Band, meeting some incredible brass players and friends, many of whom are now in principal roles in UK orchestras.
What was it about the Academy which made you decide to study here?
For me personally, it was the calibre of players that were at the Academy, and knowing the list of teachers on offer, it was a no-brainer for me. As well as this, having a slightly more academic course, and being able to see what else was going on in the jazz, opera, and musical theatre departments, was another big reason why I decided to study here. A career in music is never just playing your instrument, being as versatile as possible is key going into today’s industry.
Why did you want to study in London?
This is an easy one! Having grown up in London, I have always loved the exciting arts and culture scene here. On any given night you could go to an array of orchestral concerts, theatres, jazz bars, art galleries, recitals, or shows; it’s like a gold mine for a student. With all this on the doorstep, there is really nowhere else better to study.
Tell us about your experience studying at the Academy
The conservatoire lifestyle involves a lot of hard work, whilst finding a good balance socially. However, although tough, I don’t believe there is any other subject that is as rewarding. There is no better feeling than getting that first professional gig, and all the hard work feels like it has been worth it!
One week you could be playing in the symphony orchestra, having classes with jazz specialists, and the next week, be in the pit as part of the musical theatre department show and taking masterclasses with the likes of Jeroen Berwaerts. Having this wide range of opportunities has been amazing in training to becoming as diverse a trumpet player as possible.
What advice would you give to prospective students who are auditioning at the Academy?
The only piece of advice I would give is, just enjoy it. We are so lucky to do what we do and make careers centred around what we love doing, relish every opportunity. The panel are excited to hear you and want you to play your best, so just go in there and be yourself and enjoy performing!