Summer Alp is the 2012 Young Musician's Bursary Winner and will be blogging here throughout her year about how her year is developing. Summer is 17 years old and attends Barton Court Grammar School and her instrument is the recorder.
Blog Post #3 - Sunday 13 October 2013
I really can’t believe that in less than two weeks I will no longer be the Canterbury Festival Foundation Bursary winner and Ambassador for The Arts! It’s been a fantastic year with so many new experiences and opportunities. Last time I wrote was during the spring term and it’s now the beginning of my first term at The Royal College of Music. But so much has happened between then and now.
I performed at the House of Lords with the Friends of The Canterbury Festival, and also for The Vice President’s Dinner at The Abode Hotel, as I mentioned in my last blog. Both of these were fantastic experiences, not only because I feel that I performed well, but also because everyone gave me such good feedback after my performances, showed so much interest in what I plan to do as a musician and have been so supportive over the last year that I feel as though I’m part of the family that is The Canterbury Festival.
I have also given two recorder workshops at The Whitstable Junior School to children from years 5 and 6, most of whom had never played a musical instrument before. I taught them how to play some notes on the recorder and we made a piece including playing loudly and softly, using rests and playing all together or with the class split in two, with a little bit of a competition! One of my favourite moments of my year with The Festival was after the first workshop when the children asked me to come back! I was so glad that they had enjoyed it and that I had (hopefully) inspired them to learn to play an instrument because that was my aim in being an ambassador for the arts from the start of the process of competing for the Foundation Bursary Competition.
Over the summer I took part in a Kent Music Summer School course at Benenden School which I love doing because I get to spend three days with my friends doing nothing but playing music and having fun in the process. I also played with members of The Whitstable Recorder Ensemble, accompanying Phoenix Performing Arts’ production of Romeo and Juliet.
And of course, I had to take my final A2 exams in June! Like everyone else I had to wait until results day (which unfortunately fell on my 18th birthday this year) to find out that overall I had got an A in music and psychology and a B in French. These were the grades that I wanted (although I didn’t need them to get into the RCM) so I was pleased and relieved.
So now I’m at the Royal College of Music and it’s absolutely fantastic! Everyone is friendly and we all have so much in common just by being musicians. There are five modules this year which are performance, historical studies, professional skills, practical musicianship and aural. It's been quite a lot to get my head around but everything is very interesting and I’ve been able to go to some concerts already. I’ve also started learning the baroque oboe and some friends and I are looking at a trio sonata by Telemann for baroque flute and oboe and continuo which is great, especially because we can all play it at baroque pitch on authentic instruments!
But it’s now the end of my year as the Canterbury Festival Foundation Bursary winner and Ambassador for The Arts and my final engagement of the year will be to help choose next year’s winner. I expect it’ll be quite surreal to be on the other side of the experience but I’m looking forward to seeing all of The Festival organisers again and to watching a brilliant concert by the area’s best young musicians. All in all the whole experience has been so beneficial to me and I really hope that I’ve been a good representative of The Festival throughout my time with them, and also that this won’t really be the end!
Blog Post #2 - Wednesday 6 March 2013
Hello again. Since I last wrote a blog I have been really busy at school and with my music. I am also planning a visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour!
During the winter, I auditioned at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. I felt that they all went really well and I really enjoyed playing with professional accompanists who I hope also enjoyed playing with me. I am very pleased to tell you that I was offered places at the GSMD, RCM and TLCMD and a reserve offer from RAM. I accepted the offer from the Royal College which also included a scholarship!
I also had an A2 psychology module in January and I find out the results on 8th March. I would really love an A even though I only need a C in music and an E in another subject (it’s mad I know)! And like every Year 13 student in the country, I’ve been trying (and mostly succeeding) to keep on top of my homework, coursework and revision, as I have my final exams in June.
There are several exciting things coming up in the next few months apart from my exams. First of all, I have been asked to play at The House of Lords by David Barton, as a result of winning the Canterbury Festival Foundation Bursary Competition. I have loved choosing a completely new (and unaccompanied) programme for this event, which includes a Telemann Fantasia and a Rondo by Heberle which is a piece of classical music for the recorder which is quite rare. I am also going to be playing at the Canterbury Festival Foundation’s Vice President’s dinner, in which I will play part of the unaccompanied program, but hopefully some accompanied pieces too if my wonderful teacher Debbie is free to play with me. At the end of March, I will be performing on the oboe in the ‘pit band’ for my school’s musical production of Bugsy Malone. This is the third of the annual musicals that I have taken part in, the others were Oliver! and The Wizard of Oz. I am also excited to start busking again as the warmer weather arrives!
As an ambassador for the arts, I have contacted several local primary schools offering workshops for any recorder players in their schools, and so far, Whitstable Junior School have replied and I am going to do a workshop for beginners and for pupils who already play. I am nervous about this but also very excited because I hope that I can inspire them to either carry on with their playing, or to take up an instrument, whether it’s the recorder or another instrument.
Blog Post #1 - Monday 3 December 2012
Hello, my name is Summer and I am this year's Canterbury Festival Foundation's Ambassador for the Arts. First, thank you for reading this blog! I'm going to tell you a bit about myself and about what I hope to do in this coming year.
I am 17, have been at Barton Court Grammar School in Canterbury since year 7, and I have played the recorder since I was 7 years old. I live in Whitstable, am learning to drive and I have a cat that I love (I'll leave it at that because if I say any more about her I'll never stop). When I first started to learn the recorder, I remember being given sheets with scales and finger fitness exercises and being asked to practice one of them three times a day for one week and then the next line the next week. I was always so proud to tell my teacher Debbie that I hadn't just practiced them three times a day, but ten times! No one had to remind me to practice because I just enjoyed it. But it hasn't always been like that. For a few years I did very little practice and lost my motivation for both music and school work. During that time I took my grade 8 exam. It was the first exam in which I didn't get a distinction and I was really disappointed, although I knew that it was because I hadn't worked hard enough. But I found a piece I loved and wanted to work at, played it on stage with an orchestra at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and the sense of achievement it gave me and the happiness and passion I felt during the performance gave me the push that I needed to start taking my music seriously. Since then (it was only 9 months ago) I have practiced much harder and taken every opportunity that I have been offered. I have played in the Royal Festival Hall in London, at the European Recorder Teachers Association conference in Cologne, Germany and I won the Canterbury Festival Foundation's bursary competition last month. (I have also played in many smaller school and ensemble concerts. But I still have to do all of my school work. I am studying Music (of course), Psychology and French at A-level and have an AS-level in Chemistry. I am proud to say that I achieved two As and two Bs in my AS exams in the summer.
During the coming year I hope to take my ATCL diploma in performance after I have finished my music college auditions (which are happening right now!!). I am also going to work with the Festival Foundation to inspire others to become as passionate and enthusiastic about music as I am. I am looking forward to visiting primary schools to promote my instrument, the recorder, as a REAL instrument and show children that they can take it all the way as they would expect to take an instrument like the clarinet or the violin. I have also been asked to be part of the judging panel during the audition process for next year's bursary competition and I am excited to be able to listen to other talented young people playing music that they (hopefully) love.