Throughout the last few days, many of us at Ffynone took part in the annual Abertawe Festival for Young Musicians in the Brangwyn Hall. They had classes for various instruments. The violin, cello, piano, trumpet, flute, guitar and many more!
They were also split up by instrument grades and whether the class was competitive or non-competitive. I have taken part in the ABRSM before for the past 2 years playing the violin and this year, I was in the grade 4-8 category for the non-competitive class. As well as the musicians from Ffynone, there were four others in my class form different schools.
In the competitive classes, you competed for a gold, silver or bronze medal by playing a piece for the judges. We had two medal winners this year. My friend Danny in Year 11 won a gold medal for grade 6 violin and Sophie in Year 10 won a silver medal for the flute.
When I interviewed Sophie, she said that she enjoys competing but it makes her nervous sometimes. She also said it helps her performance, “because when I get the comments I know where I stand with my playing and how to improve.”
There are also non-competitive classes where you play a piece and get feedback on how to improve. I was in the grade 4-8 non-competitive class. The adjudicator was a cellist from Cardiff and his comments were really helpful.
It was quite nerve-wracking when we were waiting to go on and it didn’t help that a ten-year-old played a really difficult piece that he had composed himself! Amazing!
The adjudicator gave us individual information but the advice was mainly general for all of us. He told us to practise bowing the violin and to distribute the bow more. It was also quite funny when he kept using Rowan’s cello so we could see the bowing he wanted to demonstrate! I will take this advice on board when I am practising.
I really enjoy playing the violin and I love playing in the school orchestra and the string ensemble. Playing the violin and music in general is a way of escapism. It allows me to just be in the moment. No matter what else is going on in my life, music is always great! And we always have the best time together, with my ensemble friends.
The Abertawe Music Festival was a great experience and I would recommend it to any musician wanting some performing experience and helpful feedback from a professional musician.