The teaching at TL is really inspiring. My personal violin teacher Diana Cummings has improved me in ways I never thought possible, technically, musically and also she’s inspired me to play in a way that I never thought I’d be able to.
I think possibly one of the best things I’ve done was a Side-by-Side project of Don Juan where members of the Philharmonia came and played alongside us. And that was great, because obviously it’s a really famous piece, and it’s involved in a lot of orchestral auditions. It was great to be able to play it alongside these professionals, and learn how they approach such a difficult piece of work in such a short space of rehearsal time. Then it really gave me the confidence to go for it in the concert, and I now feel that when I do come across situations like that where I have to learn repertoire in just a day or so, I am able to do it far quicker because I was given the confidence by working with those professionals.
When I first came to Trinity Laban I had an awful lot of problems with back and posture, and when I was playing I was getting a lot of pain. But through my teacher, and through the help of Alexander Technique, which is also heavily promoted throughout the curriculum, I can now play completely pain-free, and the technical teaching has enabled me to free up parts of my technique and parts of the technical aspects of the instrument that I never thought would be possible. I can now play in such a way that I never even dreamed of four years ago.
The music faculty building is absolutely beautiful; it’s right next to the Thames, and it’s amazing being in such an iconic setting. There’s always lots going on there, which means it’s a really bustling environment and you feel inspired to do new things, and practise, and take part in lots of different activities.
Everybody is so kind and helpful and everybody wants each other to do their best. It’s such a supportive place to study: you get pushed to your limits, but it’s not in such a way that you ever feel like there’s no support team around you. I don’t think I’ve ever felt alone at Trinity Laban; there’s always been somebody there to help me – be it friends or staff members or people visiting. I’ve always felt like there’s somebody there who will help me through whatever I’m doing, whatever I’m trying to learn. And because it’s so supportive and everybody helps each other out, it means that you nurture the learning experience rather than just pushing forward and ending up not enjoying what you’re doing – which means that now I still love playing the violin, rather than it just being a chore, or something that I have to do.