Despite the lockdown measures, the School of Creative, Visual & Performing Arts (CVP) at NPTC Group of Colleges and its Music Academy students have continued to thrive and achieve outstanding success. Here’s a snapshot of what our Music students have been achieving, which is truly inspirational.
A Level Music student, Thomas Howell, sat his ABRSM Piano Diploma and Grade 8 Voice a few days before lockdown. Tom achieved an incredible 48/50 in his Piano diploma and a Distinction in his Grade 8 voice. During lockdown, Tom has continued to work hard to achieve further qualifications, including an Honours in a Composition Diploma, and he sat his Grade 8 theory exam on 4th July.
Tom, who will be moving to Chichester in August to take his place as the Organ Scholar at Chichester Cathedral commented: “To say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Music Academy is an understatement. Neath College also provides instrumental and vocal tuition with visiting tutors who are experts in their field. Through this scheme, I’ve attained distinctions in both ABRSM Grade 8 Voice and ARSM Diploma on Piano. Students are encouraged to work independently and acquiring this skill is relevant for working in the wider industry. Participating in a plethora of extra-curricular activities is what has made my time spent here so valuable”.
He continued: “Collaborative music-making is a central aspect of college life including big band, small ensembles, choir and chamber choir to name but a few. I’ve also had the opportunity to develop my conducting skills by conducting the chamber choir in the national Music for Youth Festival in Birmingham Town Hall. We presented a varied programme of choral excellence. Opportunities such as working in pit orchestras and even performing Handel’s organ concerto in F and Mozart’s Symphony in G minor 1st movement. I cannot endorse the Music Academy more strongly – it is impossible to mention all the experiences that I’ve gained from my two years at Neath College. I know for certain that I’ve gained lifelong friends and the necessary armour to face the exciting life of professional music-making”.
Tom was also quick to thank his Lecturer, Carolyn Davies: “She has been a rock in providing support with applications. This has included supporting me in getting the position of Organ Scholar at Chichester Cathedral and a place on the acclaimed organ course at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Thank you so very much to Carolyn and the Music Academy for your continued support. I am eternally grateful that I chose Neath College’s Music Academy as my place of study”.
Other students have also achieved places at prestigious conservatoires and universities including Jodie Lambert Tandy who will be pursuing Vocal Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire from September and Alex Isles who will be studying Voice at Trinity Laban in London. Alicia Williams has received an offer and a £16,000 scholarship to study at the University of Durham and Ryan D’Auria will be pursuing his dream music course at Bath Spa University.
Level 3 Music student, Ryan D’ Auria said: “I appreciate everything the Music Academy has done not just for myself but for all of us students and personally for pushing me and supporting me, especially when it comes to the extra-curricular activities and my own personal development as a musician and artist. I want to give the Music Academy staff at Neath College my thanks for being a huge part in me having belief in myself and helping me to push myself. It’s been the best two years of my life and I can’t give you enough credit for helping me get to where I am right now”.
Elizabeth Herbert, who is progressing to Royal Holloway, University of London to study Drama and Theatre studies said: “Over the past two years, I have loved studying in the NPTC Group of Colleges Music Academy. Although the A Level Music qualification is an extremely vigorous and challenging course, the tuition and support provided from the department have allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding of a range of musical genres, including classical, jazz and musical theatre. The passionate teaching and specialist knowledge I received from my tutor, inspired me to aim high and always strive to widen my musical skill set.
She continued: “Overall, the NPTC Group of Colleges Music Academy fosters a family ethos while creating a welcoming and warm atmosphere for its students. The Music Academy has allowed me to grow as a student. Without the encouragement and inspiration of my favourite tutor, Carolyn Davies, I would not be entering university education feeling as prepared and as enthusiastic as I do. Her open-door policy, vast depth of musical knowledge and spirit for teaching is an asset to the music academy”.
As for the progression of the HND students, two of the 2nd year students will be continuing their studies at the RWCMD. Cellan Morgan (Trumpet) and Sophie Williams (Clarinet, Sax and Flute) have been ‘veterans’ at the Music Academy. Both students successfully studied on the A Level and BTEC Level 3 Music course before deciding to stay at the Music Academy for another two years to further enhance their musical skills. Both students have been exemplary from day one. Their commitment and dedication have exceeded all expectations and they, along with all of the other leavers, they will definitely be missed.
The Head of School for Creative, Visual and Performing Arts, Victoria Burroughs spoke about the Music Academy success stories: “The student success stories of the Music Academy are truly inspirational for us all and the Music Academy teaching team are delighted for our students and wish them every success in the next step of their education and training. The Music Academy offers every student the opportunity to excel and to reach their full potential. It is very clear that Tom, Libby, Ryan, Jodie, Alex, Alicia, Cellan and Sophie have contributed to all aspects of the college community and the Music Academy, and their hard work has really paid off.