That’s A Wrap

April 20, 2015 — 20 Comments

Wow what a whirlwind of a week, on Friday evening there was the performance at St Mary’s Cathedral of the RCS Choir from the BMus course.  From Haydn’s ‘Little Organ Mass’, Michael Bawtree accompanied on the Cathedral’s Henry Willis organ and played C.P.E Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, followed in the second half with John Rutter’s folk song suite ‘A Sprig of Thyme’ conducted by Frikki Walker.

After-The-Final-Performance

On Saturday I had two shows and Sunday a final matinee performance with Scottish Opera Connect’s company at Webster’s Theatre, Glasgow.   Our double bill ‘The Walk from the Garden/Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow’ had a lovely review in the Sunday Herald by Mary Brennan.

              “Give the young singers and musicians in Scottish Opera’s Connect Company a cleverly balanced double bill, full of musical contrasts and intrinsic drama – like the one they presented across the weekend – then sit back and enjoy, as they deliver something special, sparked with a mix of keen energy and mature focus.

Stephen Deazley’s piece, Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow, was first aired by Connect in 2011 when they filled the Citizens main stage with a technicolour whing-ding reminiscent of the Land of Oz. At Webster’s – an altogether more intimate black box space – Deazley’s witty romp through some of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales arrives in (mostly) black and white: the colour comes from the performances.

Our Dr Ferret is Andrew McTaggart, an avuncular presence whose baritone warmth promises that his elixir can make bad children good…

The Connect chorus (ages ranging from 14 to 21) revel in the mischief of Belloc and the jaunty, quirky humours of Deazley, while the Connect orchestra kept pace with the snap and rhythmic crackle of the score.

The opening piece, Jonathan Dove’s The Walk in the Garden, thrummed with a sombre intensity that demanded much, of the soloists especially. Inspired by Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dove uses the expulsion of Adam (Glen Cunningham) and Eve (Charlotte Hoather) from Eden into an earthly wasteland to echo our own self-inflicted loss of natural habitat through climate change.

The chorus, who bookend the piece in thundering volume (as God, then Milton) sit on-stage as Adam and Eve, garbed like jet-setting holiday-makers, scale Dove’s heights of remembered joys, despair and resignation.

A fierce, compelling work to which young voices gave a touching truth.” 

Whole-Cast

It was fabulous for me to watch  Scottish Opera’s emerging artist Andrew McTaggart   as Dr Ferret, he is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and attended the Alexander Gibson Opera School,  the chorus sizzled through the entire production and didn’t let up in energy and colourful expression for the entire performance.

I also met the composer of the opera Jonathan Dove on Saturday, he enjoyed our first performance which was fantastic and he signed my score which I’m going to treasure.

It was great to see staff from the RCS vocal department who came along to watch including the head of vocal performance Professor Stephen Robertson, Judith Howarth and my singing teacher Kathleen McKellar Ferguson   I would like to say a big thank you to my friends and family who came along to show their support, several of them travelling quite a distance which I really do appreciate and for the cards and messages of support from my friends who could not make it.

Programme-00

Programme-01

Programme-02

An Exciting Week Ahead

April 12, 2015 — 54 Comments

Just before I finished for Easter I thought that I would try my hand a little baking.  Having seen so many lovely looking cakes on baking blogs I thought I would give it a go.  Now I can cook two or three dishes really well, another four or five passably but baking has never been my strong point.  I had a great time having a go but I don’t think Mary Berry has got anything to worry about.  It didn’t quite come out how I envisaged but I was told that it tasted great, I baked it in a roasting tin because I don’t have a proper tin haha.

Chocolate-Cake

It Really Did Taste Good.

I travelled to my Parents for the Easter weekend and after a few days relaxing I spent the last week preparing my final essay of the year for submission when College opens again tomorrow.  However it will be great to put my reference books away and immerse myself in the coming week of rehearsals.

Glen-and-Charlotte

Glen Cunningham ( Adam ) Me ( Eve ) and the fabulous Beth Jerem who  accompanied us both on piano during our rehearsal.

It is going to be a packed seven days but so worthwhile, the culmination of several months preparation and practice.  Throughout the week I will be taking part in the final rehearsals for Scottish Opera Connect’s production of “The Walk From The Garden”.  It is so exciting to see all the individual elements come together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Though I have a good idea of how Glen, who plays Adam and myself, playing Eve fit in to the production it’s not until everyone involved is in the same place at the same time that you get the full picture.

Paradis-Lost-1667

Paradise Lost – John Milton – Published 1667

The opera was composed by Jonathan Dove with the libretto written by Alasdair Middleton and runs for about 50 minutes and draws inspiration from “Paradise Lost” by the great English poet John Milton ( 1608 – 1674 ).  The story follows Adam and Eve as they come to terms with the enormity of their actions after eating the apple from the “Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil”, having being told by God that doing so would lead to their death.

Cole_Thomas_Expulsion_from_the_Garden_of_Eden_1828

Cole Thomas;s Depiction Of The Expulsion Of Adam & Eve From The Garden Of Eden – 1828

But to see what happens you have to wait as I am not giving away any spoilers before the opera opens on Saturday.  But I can say that one of the great things about being involved with a live production is the way in which the Director interprets the opera and injects a little of their own personality in to the way we portray the story.

Jonathan-Dove-02

Jonathan Dove

Jonathan Dove has written many wonderful operas and is a fabulous contemporary composer with over twenty works to his name.  You can read his biography over on his website, it’s very impressive.

jenufa

Last night ( Saturday 11th April ) I went to see Scottish Opera’s production of “Jenufa”.  I thoroughly enjoyed the opera which was full of dramatic vocals, great performances and enough vocal colour to create a musical rainbow.  It was wonderful to watch the opera sat next to Lesley, a lady I got chatting to who was there to experience live opera for the first time.

Scottish-Opera-Jenufa

Jenufa – Scottish Opera

If you missed the production during it’s run in Glasgow you can catch it in Edinburgh from the 16th April to 18th April.  The opera is sung in Czech with English surtitles.  Scottish Opera: “Jenůfa, a young woman living in a remote rural village, is pregnant, though as yet unmarried. Her stern stepmother, worried for the family’s reputation and her own status as the leader of their village, hides Jenůfa away to bear her child. Months later, the river thaws and a gruesome secret is uncovered. Suspicion falls immediately on Jenůfa, but the truth will out”.

Sir-John-In-Love

I have several evening rehearsals this week for the RCS production of Sir John In Love which opens on Saturday 8th May 2015.  It is a privilege to be involved as a member of the chorus with all my friends and fellow students, it’s shaping up to be a fabulous production.

St-Marys-Cathedral-Glasgow

St Marys Cathedral – Glasgow

On Friday evening, 17th April as a member of the RCS Choir we will be performing at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow conducted by Frikki Walker.  A great way to start what I hope will be a memorable weekend for me as I have two performances of “The Walk From The Garden” on Saturday 18th and one matinee on Sunday 19th April.

DidoAndAeneasWithDancers

When I worked with the ballet dancers in ‘Dido and Aeneas’ last month it allowed me the opportunity to get to know Emma McBeth a little better, she’s from New Zealand.  Emma is in the third year of her ballet course but we didn’t bump into each other in the first year because she spent her first year of study in Sydney, Australia.  During the Easter break I was working out a fitness program and wanted to incorporate some dance, as that’s far more enjoyable for me as it doesn’t feel like a session in the gym because it always passes so quickly, but believe me the after-burn is just as intense.  Emma very kindly offered to run me through my paces and we had a fabulous session working out and having fun.  I was intrigued to know more about Emma and her training and took the opportunity to find out about her life as a trainee ballerina.

Workout

After The Workout

 

At what age did you first start to dance and how did it all begin?

Formally at eight years of age starting with Tap and Jazz then continuing with ballet.  My Mum had lots of ballet videos at home so I started to get inspiration from dancing in the living room.  My main inspiration was how I was brought up being encouraged to have fun with dance, just moving around the house and I progressed to proper classes at eight doing exams.

Do you have one significant ballet that was your favourite?

We had all the classics on videos, one of the ones that really stood out to me was Don Quixote all that Spanish flair, one of those ballets that I’ve always wanted to do the solos and the pas de deux etc.  I did the pas de deux and solos for one of my productions I did back in New Zealand, at the time I thought ‘oh my goodness this is the best day of my life’ it was so much fun.

ROH-Don-Quixote

Royal Opera House – London – Don Quixote

 

How long do you dance each day, do you take weekend breaks; how do you structure your training?

At the conservatoire we dance Monday to Friday 9am until 6pm full time, warm ups are usually 08:30, it’s pretty much advised you also do your own practise too.  I come in on a Saturday and practise and now I’m in the third year we also have classes on Saturday mornings with Scottish Ballet on a rota basis.  Sunday is usually a day off but I use that time for other projects so I usually occupy myself.

A typical day we would have ballet class for two hours, 15 minutes break, maybe a two hour contemporary technique class, in the second and third year you have release technique class that can involve throwing ourselves around the room it’s a lot of fun and in the first year Cunningham technique strengthening the core and finding out the contractions and release.  We then have 30-45 minutes lunch then maybe a solos class or pas de deux, contemporary or ballet repertoire classes, rehearsals for shows and things like that. Two days we have a jazz class for versatility, Pilates on Tuesdays, a wide variety of modules.

In first and second year there is theory work and studies, dance anatomy, music and dance history.  We had a workshop on nutrition too which was very beneficial.

New+Zealand+map

New Zealand

 

When did you start performing on stage or in front of an audience?

From when I started ballet we had end of term productions, my first one was Alice in Wonderland.  I used to do competitions each two months and I’d do solos for that so I got lots of performing opportunities from about the age of ten.  It is good for confidence, good practise for solo performing and being in front of an audience.  When we performed in end of year productions I saw it as a celebration of the year and an opportunity to work together with the other dancers in elaborate costumes, we did Beatrix Potter and the costumes were fabulous, I was a kitten from Tom Kitten, the huge masks were the best fun thing ever, a great production. 

The most memorable performance was in 2012, I competed in the Genee International Ballet Competition and I made it to the finals, the top 12. The finals night I performed to a full theatre, fortunate enough to perform three solos in front of a panel of international judges so that was amazing.  There was apiece premièred that night and I was lucky to perform that choreography too. It was the most amazing thing and shared with the most incredible people and dancers and that’s when I really knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, I knew I wanted to perform professionally.

Picture

Emma Just Before the “Genee International Ballet Competition”

 

I finished school and I was 17 receiving university entrance and excellence in my NCEA qualifications and completed all my RAD ballet examinations.  I then auditioned for ballet schools elsewhere.  I went to Sydney for a year and trained there and then I got a scholarship offer to study in the UK, I auditioned and got accepted into several schools but was really impressed after visiting the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and decided to come and study here, I loved the fact it was a multi-disciplined Conservatoire.  

What other subjects did you study?

In my final year I did History, dance, physical education, chemistry, calculus, and English.  The dance education I had at school helped me a lot as it included choreography which has been very beneficial, I love choreography.  My favourite subject outside of dance was History and I am still fascinated by the subject.  We did a golf module in Physical education that I remember, we would spend an entire afternoon playing golf which was great fun.  We also went canoeing down Whanganui River for three days which was quite an experience.  I play piano too and started when I was eight, I balanced that, school and ballet and many other activities and I am glad that I did.  When finishing school I passed my ATCL Diploma in Piano Performance, my knowledge of piano and music has helped with my musicality and appreciation for the class pianists.  I collaborate with a girl in the Masters piano course and we worked on a Bridge week project last year and we’re working on another project at the moment, she is a fantastic friend to have and we work really well together.  Another great reason to come here to meet such fabulous people and without my piano background we may have not connected in the same way.

What is your proudest achievement/s?

The Genee International Ballet Competition final in 2012. I also proud of being cast in the lead role of La Sylphide in the show last year, it was a very special thing.  It was a romantic ballet and I’d never imagined performing a lead role in a romantic ballet.  The coaching sessions helped me a lot as a dancer, actor and performer – picking apart the solos and the mime scenes, valuable advice I’ll never forget.

What is next for you?

Since this is my final year at the conservatoire, I’m auditioning for ballet companies in the UK and Europe.  I have a final End Of Year Modern Ballet Graduation performance on the 5th and 6th June at the Conservatoire. 

Long Term aims?

Perform in a ballet company and keep a professional performance career as long as possible.  A ballet career isn’t very long and you need to maintain good health and stay without any injuries that’s ultimately what I’m concentrating on at the moment.

Emma’s Show Reel

I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s fabulous to read how hard my fellow students work here.  Emma is such a lovely girl and I really wish her the very best for the future after she graduates this year.


From Emma's facebook

George-Solo-580

George Todica and I first worked together when he was asked to accompany me by our Conservatoire for the Kathleen Ferrier competition in Blackburn when I was starting Year 2 and he was commencing the third year of his Piano course.  He also accompanied me in the Llangollen Eisteddfod last year and we were finalists in a German lieder competition this year.  It’s a privilege to sing with him because he isn’t doing an accompanist degree he trains as a concert pianist and has so little time to spare.  A few months ago we auditioned for a series of Grieg master-classes to be held in Bergen, Norway and I’m thrilled to let you know that we were accepted on to the course which I’ll tell you more about soon.  It’s taken a while to get this interview together due to rehearsal schedules but finally I persuaded him to put a little time aside to tape this interview so that you can see what a trainee pianist goes through.

Here is a sample of George’s playing :)

What age did you first start playing piano?

I started playing at the age of three, my brothers, who were 12 and 14 at the time, taught me at first as they were already in school and knew how to play. They taught me little songs with one finger to start with, I remember I had a big pink book but I don’t remember what it was called, whilst I was in Kindergarden to play for the family. At the age of five I had my first official lesson with Silvia Panzariu in Iasi, Romania where I grew up because my Dad who is also a musician saw potential in me. She was a teacher at the High School the lessons were once every fortnight before I started school. I was always excited for my lessons. At about the age of six my brothers got their first basic computers and to test my love of piano my father offered me the choice of a computer or continued piano lessons and I chose piano.

How often did you practise each week?

I don’t remember exactly initially I enjoyed playing new pieces and I enjoyed learning new songs often for hours at a time; but exercises, playing things over and over again I didn’t particularly enjoy, I think that was probably about one hour each day. Silvia was my teacher for most of my childhood then I went to her daughter Ralucia and she taught me from about eleven for a few years. They were a very musical family. When I was fifteen I changed to her sister’s husband.

When did you start performing on stage or in front of audiences?

I learnt a lot before I got into School so I used to compete each year. I used to enjoy the competitions as I used to win first prize from the age of seven. I used to be more concerned about my walk on and bow than I was about my playing. I had to wear formal little suits, my parents wanted me to look special and stand out and they got me a burgundy jacket and I used to look at all the black jackets and think ooh no one else is wearing a burgundy jacket. I used to sing a lot when I was young and in a choir as a bass when I was older but I was really drawn to the piano and as we had a piano in the house it was very accessible so I concentrated on that.

Romania

What other subjects did you study at school in Romania?

Our system makes us do compulsory subjects until very late; Romanian literature, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, in final exams you can choose between History, Geography, Philosophy and Economics, I chose History which I enjoyed. Music was outside of choices.

When did you come to study in Scotland?

In Year 10 in Romania I won a scholarship at the Stewart’s Melville College in Edinburgh where I spent a very enjoyable year, I studied in S6 ( advanced highers ) studying classical History, Philosophy and Music and passed my examinations.  When I finished that year I went directly to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Was it difficult to leave home and move to the UK?

I had been sort of prepared for it because I was travelling to outside competitions and concerts being organised by my piano teacher Iulian Trofin, I would travel two hours to his class on the bus. I met him when I was ten and I studied with him until I came to Glasgow. From eight, I always walked half an hour to school alone. It was very difficult at first even though I spoke English quite well, I studied it in my last four years of school. I learnt English from cartoons and things and speaking to my friends to practise whilst we played computer games I just picked it up from this. It was strange not coming home at the end of each day, but they were very nice, kind and supportive to me in Edinburgh and I was allowed to phone home so it was mixed with lots of excitement.

Gerorge-2006-580-

Absolute 1st Prize At The International Competition “Citta di Cesenatico”, Italy

What are your proudest achievements?

Winning the scholarship to Edinburgh definitely it absolutely changed my life, if I hadn’t got that I wouldn’t have thought to apply to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I wouldn’t have had the funds to move to another Country either. I was offered a full scholarship for Edinburgh including flights. I won my first international competition when I was 12, I went to Italy with Mr Trofin and I won first prize in my category it was a big prize for me at the time.

What’s a typical training schedule like for you?

I have been living in Scotland through scholarships during the past four years and I never had to worry about working in a bar or shop thanks to this, so that I could focus on learning piano every single moment, seven days per week. I usually strive to do an average of at least six hours piano practise per day excluding improv sessions, stretch breaks, research. I usually get up each day around 7am, I like early mornings waking up with the sun to relax, eat and check my e-mails and I usually get to school by 9am – at least three hours dedicated practise in a practise room before lunch around 1pm because mornings are most productive for me, then I’ll break off and do other work, then go back for an hour and a half solid practise, then have dinner around 5pm, then I’m usually back in school practising from 6pm to 9pm other than on a Sunday when they shut earlier.

What is coming up next for you?

I have three competitions in April and May in Sussex, Portugal, and Malta. I have a concert in Edinburgh on the 6th April at St Giles Cathedral at lunch time Mozart, Ravel, and Enescu. Then of course I’m moving on to a master’s course I have accepted my offer of a place at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland because I’ve really enjoyed my four years here and got into the atmosphere of the Conservatoire. I was also offered places at RAM and RCM but I felt that the transition process would just take up valuable time. I have a new piano teacher Norman Beedie and I feel I can continue to learn a lot from him and make better progress here. I have a partial scholarship for masters and I am in the process of applying to trusts in the hope that people will help me to stay here. 

What are your long term aims ?

I believe I have a musical voice and the potential to bring something new to music to teach people to enjoy pure music, just the actual syrup and honey that comes out of classical music and not just consider it a type of genre people like or don’t like. I want to promote this music to help for its own benefit not just make myself a career, to share the joy and light that it brought into my life since I was really young and I like sharing that and helping people to see what I see.

You can listen to George’s music on his new You Tube channel or Google+ page. George also provided the beautiful accompaniment on the Aaron Copland American folk songs that I shared with you all earlier this year and on my album Canzoni D’Amore.

 

The Laird O’Cockpen

March 22, 2015 — 61 Comments
Laird-O-Cockpen-Header-Blog

Getting Ready

This weekend we have been rehearsing with Scottish Opera Connect for the coming production of “The Walk From The Garden”. It has been fantastic to practice alongside the string quartet today and the excitement of feeling it all to come together makes it all so worthwhile.

Dove-Rehearsals-With-The-String-Quartet

My Score From Today’s Sitzprobe Rehearsal

Over the last few weeks I have been totally absorbed with several projects; learning the music and lyrics for our Chamber Choir performance on April 17th playing catch up because I’d missed a couple of rehearsals due to Dido, seeing all the aspects of “The Walk From The Garden” take shape and learning the music and dance routines as member of the chorus of “Sir John In Love” I have enjoyed being put through my paces.

For tonight’s post I wanted to leave you with the last of the songs from my album, “The Laird O’Cockpen”. This humorous Scottish folk song was written by Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne ( 1766 – 1845 ). She wrote several beautiful songs which have become thought of as traditional Scottish songs. As the daughter of a staunchly Jacobite family she often wrote in sympathy of the cause, setting her songs to old established tunes.

The-Laird-O-Cockpen-Watson-Gordon-

The Laird O’Cockpen – A Painting By Watson Gordon

Following her marriage to Major William Murray Naine she moved to Edinburgh becoming Lady Nairne. Whilst in Edinburgh she carried on writing her songs under a pseudonym as it was considered a “queer trade” for a titled Lady. The songs were kept secret from her husband and her work “Lays From Strathearn” was eventually published in her own name in 1946 after her death.

Carolina-Oliphant

Carolina Oliphant ( 1766 – 1845 )

The Laird o’ Cockpen

The laird o’ Cockpen, he’s proud an’ he’s great,
His mind is ta’en up wi’ the things o’ the State;
He wanted a wife, a braw house to keep,
But favour wi’ wooin’ was fashious to seek.

By the dyke-side a lady did dwell,
At feast he give he thocht she’d look well,
M’Leish’s ae dochter o’ Clavers-ha’ Lea,
A penniless lass wi’ a lang pedigree.

His wig was weel pouther’d and as gude as new,
His waistcoat was white, his coat it was blue;
He put on a ring, a sword, and cock’d hat,
And wha could refuse the laird wi’ a’ that?

He took his grey mare, and rade cannily,
And rapp’d at the yett o’ Clavers-ha’ Lea;
‘Gae tell Mistress Jean to come speedily ben, –
She’s want to speak with the laird o’ Cockpen.’

Mistress Jean she was makin’ the elderflower wine;
‘An’ what brings the laird at sic a like time?’
She aff her apron, and on her silk goun,
Her mutch wi’ red ribbons, and gaed awa’ doun.

An’ when she cam’ ben, he bowed fu’ low,
An’ what was his errand he soon let her know;
Amazed was the laird when the lady said ‘Na’,
And wi’ a curtsie she turned and awa’.

Dumfounder’d was he, nae sigh did he gie,
He mounted his mare – he rade cannily;
An’ aften he thought, as he gaed through the glen,
She’s daft to refuse the laird o’ Cockpen.
scroll
Over the last couple of months I have been asked a couple of times if I have any CDs for sale rather than having to download the tracks from Amazon or iTunes. I do have about 30 that I have signed so my Dad has added a page to my blog where you can order one from (link).  

FrontCover

Now Available As A CD To Buy From My Store

 

2nd Anniversary

March 18, 2015 — 125 Comments

2nd-Anniversary-Blog

It has been two years since I first decided to start my blog and record the experiences and opportunities that I would face as a student here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. So here I am 230 posts later and to everyone that has joined me here, supported my endeavours, shared in my experiences and provided invaluable advice I just want to say thank you.

I just love this time of year as all the rehearsals are coming to fruition and the performance dates are just around the corner.
On the 17th April at 7:30 pm I will be taking part with my fellow students at the RCS in our chamber choir, conducted again this year by Frikki Walker at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow.

Double Bill Opera Image
The following day I am very excited that my family and friends will be traveling to Glasgow to see me take part in the Scottish Opera Connect production of Jonathan Dove’s opera “The Walk From The Garden”. This will be my first lead role playing Eve alongside a fellow student from the RCS, Glen Cunningham who will be performing the role of Adam. The dates of the performances are 18th April 3:30 pm and 7:00 pm and 19th April at 3:30 pm. This opera is part of a double bill, the second production is “Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow” which was inspired by “The Cautionary Tales” by Hilaire Belloc.

Scottish-Opera_logo

As a member of Les Sirenes Female Chamber choir we have been working on Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for a performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on Thursday 14th May at the City Halls Glasgow.

SirJohn

Sir John In Love – RCS Glasgow

Then as the end of the academic year draws to a close I will be performing as a member of the chorus in the RCS production of Vaughan Williams’s opera “Sir John In Love”. With shows on the 9th, 11th, 13th and 15th May starting at 7:15 pm.

Mother’s Day

March 15, 2015 — 68 Comments

Mothers-Day-580-02

My Mum is rather splendid she is always telling me to “Make The Commitment To The Real You”.

I can count on her to pick me up when I am down, support me when I am busy and help me to land after flying high. Today in the UK it is Mother’s Day I want to thank her for being so special and to share with you some of the guidance that I am lucky enough to receive from her every day :)

This year I have had the opportunity to make decisions about my training and consider my options at each crossroads that I have encountered. It has been one of my busiest years so far with so much still to do, building towards a climatic end of year. But I know that I would not be able to stand on my two feet so confidently, smiling and excited for the tasks ahead without the amazing help of my Mum.

Mothers-Day-960

There are many times when each of us needs the help of others, they help us to trust in ourselves and commit to the journey we are each on. At times when we question our abilities it is important to ask, or receive help through positive encouragement whether this is through reading inspirational quotes, listening to suggested Ted Talks, watching motivational videos or films about American sports stars (my dad’s personal favourite ). But for me I have my mum. She has always had my back and gives me strength daily to strive to be the person I want to be.

I remember talking to her about the changes to the development of my personal singing training and the frustrations I felt. My mum asked me to research the growth of a bamboo tree, and she sent me this amazing video:

If you can then I recommend that you to watch it in its entirety, or save it for a day when you need a little positive nudge.  For me, it reminds me that I have the power to fulfil my dream.  If I take the time now then over the next several years I can nurture myself, train hard to enable me to grow and flourish. It takes patience and persistence. I am up for the challenge and I thank my mum every day for encouraging me to take on each challenge, supporting me to achieve my goals and always being there for me every step of my journey.

But I ask you:

‘Are you up for the challenge, to commit to the real you?’