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Bon Journal

Advice to a young musician

The story doesn't end with a successful audition. As long as you go where demand outstrips supply, you will have to compete to get in or get up there. It doesn't get easier after you graduate.

As talented a musician as you are, there are more than seventy flautists auditioning for 6 places over a five day period. The tuition and fees for a foreign student (non-British and non-EU) amount to some £10,000 a year for undergraduates. The competition for a scholarship is even more intense.

How does the panel of three judge? No matter how much you practise, you are bound to make a mistake. The examiners are looking for talent and potential. But, like other things that your teachers never tell you, they are also trying to assess whether they could work with you. That is, whether they think they will like you. It's four years, after all.

If you could choose between two equally competent people to work with, you'd surely choose the one that's easier to work with, one that you like.

Someone told me once: to be successful, a musician depends more on passion, earnestness, and desire than talent. But also, people have to like you.

But so much is at stake here. In just twenty minutes of hearing you, the three examiners will decide whether you're IN or OUT. And that fork in your life is forever engraved.

3 December 2001 Monday

Royal College of Music
nearest tube stations:
South Kensington (Piccadilly, Circle, District Lines, zone 1)
Located right across from the stunning Royal Albert Hall and nestled with Imperial College and museums
This is where the movie Shine was filmed.
The optimist asks, what if you get into all three conservatories?
The pessimist asks, what if you don't get into any?