Friends Making Music

June 4, 2017 — 60 Comments

As my Recital Exam approaches this week I had the pleasure to perform alongside my dear friend Prajna Indrawati in her exam on Friday. Prajna is wonderful to work with and I was so happy for her when earlier this year she won the accompanist prize in the Brooks-van der Pump competition.



Prajna Indrawati


Our mutual friend Manu Brazo, a saxophonist, also performed a beautiful sonata by Fernande Decruck as part of the recital. Manu is an accomplished saxophonist with several notable achievements so far, this year.  They include winning the Saxophone competition at the Royal College of Music, the Jellinek Award in the 2017 “Guildford Symphony Orchestra Competition for Young Soloists” and he has been selected to take part in the 2017 London Sinfonietta Academy.


Manu Brazo

Manu Brazo


It was a wonderful opportunity for me to perform some of my repertoire under exam conditions ahead of my own recital on Wednesday. The exam is open to the public, and there will be an examining panel of three judges who will sit centre stage at the back of the venue with copies of the music at hand. As this will be an open performance we are expected to create programmes and perform under the rigors of strict time restrictions to prepare us for professional engagements in the future. The exam criteria are very strict which demands high technical singing and an entertaining dramatic portrayal.

Singing as with any art form is very subjective, the level of critique following an exam is very thorough and can pick up on the tiniest of details. I find comfort for this high level of critique by watching a program on BBC2 called ‘Creme de la Crème’ in which teams of patisserie chefs battle to win the grand prize. The judges are so particular, expecting high standards from the competitors, they often award very tough marks for what to the untrained eye is a beautifully presented batch of pastries.  Just like singing at this level expectations and standards are so high and we do everything that we can to be at our best on the day.  I can’t wait for my performance and I know that I will enjoy the opportunity to showcase what I have learnt during my first year here at the Royal College of Music.

As a surprise treat and quite unexpectedly I was given tickets to watch an evening performance at the Royal Albert Hall.  It was amazing to celebrate with Prajna and Manu as it was our first time visiting this magnificent venue and it was lovely to share the memory together.

Inside The Albert Hall

Albert Hall


To close my post tonight I want to say how saddened I was last night after another terrorist attack here in London, it left seven dead and many more injured, with several still in a critical condition.  My heart goes out to the families of those who lost a loved one and to everyone who was so tragically touched by the attack last night.  I also want to express my thanks to the first responders and police for their fast response. I know that we are supposed to be strong and carry on as normal but I must admit to being a little scared and apprehensive when leaving home this morning. For me, like so many others here in London and in Manchester tomorrow will be another day and we must get on with our lives and remain as positive as possible, hoping that the end to these atrocities will not to be far away.  My prayers are with you all, stay safe wherever you are in the world.

60 responses to Friends Making Music


    Charlotte, your reaction this morning was only natural, but you didn’t give in to the fear. I was in the Centre of Manchester yesterday for the first time since our bomb and apart from there being more spaces on Pizza Hut, nothing had changed. Nothing. It’s you and your friends and your determination to make life better for everyone with your abilities that means that these cowards and maniacs cannot win. Not just won’t, but can’t. Make your music, take care but do not fear. You stand for life.


    Best wishes on your Recital exam. Let your music speak for all the freedom loving people. We are saddened by the events in the UK now and can only hope the cowards will be caught.


      Thank you John, I rehearsed my program and shopped for food as normal but with a heavy heart, 10pm on a Saturday night in London is theatre kicking out time and a summer evening walking in London is a lovely thing to do.
      Best wishes 🌈


        It is sad that a group of criminals can try to take that peaceful scene and fill it with horror. We can’t let them do it. God Bless you.


    Hope Wednesday goes wonderfully. We can’t be there as we are already in London at an event (Chelsea Physic Garden). We were at the ROH last night for a delightful performance of L’Elisir d’Amore… and the police vans tore past us as we walked to Holborn underground afterwards. Keep brave and vigilant and go on enjoying life.


      Thank you Hilary, I know that walk well, I’m happy you enjoyed the Opera and got home safely. Watching the crowds in Manchester enjoying their music is uplifting. Have a lovely week 😊.
      Best wishes 🌈


    A wonderful experience for you all. Well said at the end – and you stay safe too.


      Such a happy week with a sour note at the end. I’m enjoying the celebration of music in Manchester right now. Life going on 💕🎵.
      Best wishes 🌈


    Good luck for Wednesday Charlotte and stay safe. 😘


    Good luck with your performance, dear Charlotte! Just believe in yourself! You’ll do it!
    Best wishes!
    Maria 🙂


    Thrilled to see you so happy, being with your friends and celebrating life through music. Surrounding you with Angels so as to keep you safe and sound. <3


    God bless you, Charlotte – The best for you always and I will be with you with my thought wednesday 🙂 You’re the best my dear Rainbow Voice Lady !


    Charlotte, please know that your friends across the Pond in the USA stand with you and the rest of Europe whenever we hear of the tragedies perpetrated by a small group of people whose misguided aim is to create fear and separation in a world that yearns for safety and peace. We are saddened, but we are also encouraged when brave people step up and refuse to give in to those that would silence their voices.
    You are such a person – best wishes on your performances and exams. Always sing for what you believe in.


      Thank you for your lovely message Sheila, my program is about wonderful women, from Mother Nature to female poetry in song, I think you would enjoy it.
      Best wishes 🌈


    Wishing you do the best for your final. It was sad to hear about the attack in London last night. I am glad to hear that you are safe and great that you can keep positive about it!


      Thank you, I’ve been so busy preparing for my recital I didn’t have time to dwell on it. I have put a couple of photos together from my recital day that I’ll blog tomorrow 😊.
      Best wishes


    One needs nerves of steel to give exacting performances under concert conditions — the more prestigious the performance the more tempered the steel needs to be. It needs to be of even greater quality when facing an examination panel. At least, after all that, you should find it easier than most to dismiss being distracted by the threats posed by the insanely misguided fanatics.


    You know what you know. You have practiced faithfully the skills. The critique is helpful but more importantly it is what you think about your art, your skills, and your needs as an artist. After all your music is Charlotte choosing when and where to express herself. You own the song no one else in that moment of time. Yours to send forth out into the world.

    Peter Alexander June 4, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    So glad to hear that you are OK. I thought of you first when the attack happened in Manchester, and then in London. My thoughts are with all the people of the UK—and please know that the stupidity you hear from some people in this country does not represent me or any of my good friends in the music community here. We send you all our love—and also my very best wishes to you in your Recital Exam! You know that you are good!


      Masters is a whole new level of expectation, technical improvement demands are great and very satisfying if something I’ve been working on is mentioned positively. Thank you for your lovely message, I’ve only just stopped for a breather after a hectic week to reply 😊🙋🏼.
      Best wishes

    Margaret Mair June 4, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    And my prayers with you, Charlotte.


    I don’t have words for it.. I’m sorry that it’s happening. I’m happy you’re taking advantage of the opportunities to progress in your career.


      I’m sorry for what’s happening too. I read an article by Joyce DiDonato the famous Opera singer who reminds us that even Juilliard the top music school in America only 10-15% go on to have successful careers 😳.
      Best wishes

    Rev. Tim George June 5, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Beautiful pictures Charlotte, and may the Lord bless you real good my beloved.


    Good luck in your exam,

    Cate McDermott June 5, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Good luck, Charlotte; I hope I can make it on Wednesday. Allie and I were both planning to come, but she does volunteer work as a chaplain for a ministry that will be supporting victims of the terrorist attack throughout the next couple of weeks, and so she will be busy. I’m glad you are safe, and I have to say, I understand your concerns about simply “carry on as normal.” When these kinds of things start happening in the world, we have to make enough adjustments to our routine to help stop it from occurring again. But we can’t allow terror to stop us living our lives, and that’s why I’m so glad to hear about all the great things that are also happening with you this week. Best wishes!

    Best regards,



      What a rewarding thing for Allie to do pass on my best to her. Some people can’t just get on as normal and need to talk things through so I’m happy that people like Allie are doing this. Hope to see you again soon,
      Best wishes


    I’m happy to see that you are living your life, regardless of the attacks your country is undergoing. It shows the terrorists just how strong you are that their antagonism will not alter your stalwart nature. Be careful and know we are with you!


      I’m not a suspicious person by nature but I must admit when there was an abandoned bag in a near empty tube carriage I got into that I only noticed after we set off my heart skipped a beat. Thanks GP.
      Best wishes


    Very well said, Charlotte! I can imagine you must have been somewhat nervous as you set off from home yesterday but, it you didn’t let it stop you from doing the things you had and want to do. Best of luck in your recital on Wednesday.


    Good luck tomorrow Charlotte. I’m sure it will be a wonderful experience.


      Thank you Andrew I do love performing even under exam conditions which can be a bit tense it was nice to look out on an audience supporting me and hoping I did well.
      Best wishes


    It’s horrendous what has happened in the U.K. But the human spirit is strong and life will go on. With God’s help the people will become stronger and more resilient as the USA did during 9/11. Praying that they catch the perpetrators. May you have a successful recital and exams. Blessings and hugs to you. Stay safe and well.


      Thanks Janice I can’t believe the year is over. I’m three days into BambinO rehearsals now and I get a day off tomorrow so I’m going to relax and lie around 😀.
      Best wishes


    I have just read this ,and must say what a lovely post it is..
    You get so much pleasure in everything you do,it’s very inspiring,
    So pleased your recital went well yesterday.😘🤗


    Waiting with bated breath to find out how the Recital Exam went?


      I enjoyed the performance. I was so pleased to see friends that came to support me in the audience, you get no feedback from the panel and won’t for a while yet, but I stretched myself to learn three new sets of music and was happy with the result, I just hope it went down well 🤞🏼. Thanks for thinking of me.
      All my best


    Our hearts go out to everyone who has been touched by terrorism. It seems we are living in a sad time. And all in the name of religion. But their religion is violence and evil.


      I don’t think any religion is evil or violent I think there are people who lead other people astray that are evil and they shouldn’t do this in the name of their religion. I’m so sad for the families torn apart by this, and people having to live with the repercussions, life is so short anyway.
      Best wishes

    amrit pal singh June 10, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Music no religion ,all heart beat in music best of luck


    Thank you for sharing


    I’ve stumbled on some new music to check out here, I’m a classical violinist but I absolutely love the saxophone! Congrats to your friends on their amazing achievements x

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