My experience as an Aldeburgh Young Musician by Miranda Davies (2014 Alumni)
After 4 years at AYM I’m very sad to be leaving it behind. There have been some brilliant and memorable courses during my time here; ‘Glasgow Kiss’ from the Rock Weekend, the catchy Persian 11 from my very first weekend and Tim Steiner’s compositions for the ensemble are now firmly embedded in my head, along with Pete Churchill’s gospel songs and Irish blessing, the beautiful Palestinian song we sang with Oday and so much more… The sheer variety of musical styles, of ways of working and of people is what makes AYM so unique and stimulating: the exposure to so much different music has both hugely improved my playing, by providing more influences and techniques to draw upon, and has made me more receptive to experimenting with new ideas. Hearing music presented in ways I’d never dreamed of has also made me more aware of how much other music there is left to discover.
Being an AYM has also led to some superb performance opportunities. I have been lucky enough to play at Latitude and the London Jazz Festival as a member of the AYM Ensemble, and at the Bellowhead Prom; all three were incredible, energetic performances that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Equally lasting impressions have been made by some of the artists we have worked with, such as Ramzi, Will Carling, Miguel Tantos Sevillano and Joby Burgess; through AYM I was even given the opportunity to have lessons with the latter, which have been invaluable. So many of the artists bring not only new music but also a glimpse into their world often different to ours. For me for example, the insight given by the Palestinian musicians that we worked with transformed the Palestine-Israel conflict from a sad but distant struggle to a real-life, immediate crisis.
Away from the music AYM has also been fantastic. Living together in Elizabeth Court fosters a great sense of community, and thinking of AYM football, Charades and Empires (the immortal Rob’s Mum) never fails to make me smile. Tai Chi/singing on the beach, Adam Possener burning toast and requiring the fire brigade, Alex Cook’s youthful entourage, the bus leaving without Andrew Farnden, accidentally setting fire to the microwave at Leiston Abbey, Julian coming out with ‘grotto’ in word association, Mafia…. the list of good memories is endless, and I hope AYM remains as inspiring, sparky and fun as it has been for the last four years. I’ve been very lucky to have been a part of it – thank you.