Being able to study for my Masters at an institution as creative and friendly as Goldsmiths, University of London, was a great experience, and I am thrilled to have received my final grade of Merit on completion of the course. Without a doubt, it would have been very difficult for me to do this without the James Pantyfedwen Foundation's generous support.
Having gained a First-Class Honours BMus degree from the University of Leeds, focusing mainly on performance (Piano), my intention in choosing the MMus Creative Practice course at Goldsmiths was to develop my composition and production skills, and to do so by pursuing a more creative path than on a more conventional course. In addition, being able to spend a year in London, where there is such a vibrant and diverse music scene was fantastic.
For my main research-led practice project, I studied the relationship between minimalist music composition techniques and reduced listening devices, and applied my findings to a piece of music I had to compose to accompany the research. The completed work, 'Soar', is a minimalist 30-minute composition, that I recorded and produced at Goldsmiths Music Studios. As a student, having access to these amazing studios throughout the year, free of charge, and having the chance to experiment and take advantage of recording equipment that ranks among the best in the business – facilities that are normally beyond the reach of many artists and musicians – was an invaluable experience.
I was very fortunate during the year to have piano lessons with Nick Ramm – the pianist, composer and producer, and former keyboard player of the Cinematic Orchestra, a group that I've seen live many times and admire greatly. Having lessons with Nick was a privilege, and helped develop my improvisation skills.
I also derived satisfaction from being part of the Goldsmiths Keys Collective, a piano sextet, throughout the year. We performed works by composers such as Steve Reich and Julius Eastman, as well as each other's compositions. In addition, we had the opportunity to play one of Ian Gardiner's works – one of my Audio-Vision Composition lecturers this year. Having weekly student workshops where we had the opportunity to show each other our assignments and receive feedback was an extremely rewarding experience.
Living in London, making new friends, and connections in the industry, has boosted my career as a musician, and has definitely enabled me to develop my composition and creative skills. Now, as I look forward to continuing my musical journey here in London, I am extremely grateful to the James Pantyfedwen Foundation for supporting my Masters degree throughout the year, and for showing such faith in me.