Music & Me

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I’m Anna and I’m 14 years old. This blog is about me and ‘My Life in Music’. Pipes, Keys and Chords brings together my three instruments; organ, piano and voice and is a record of all I do in and with music.

I started playing the piano and violin the Autumn term of 2012 but always struggled with the violin and gave it up after a couple of years. The piano was different though, I loved it from the moment I started and it wasn’t long before I took my first grade. I’ve not looked back since! My teacher is Michael Johnson. He makes me work hard, but I love the challenges he sets me and he encourages me all the way. He offers great opportunities to not only take grades but also to perform in public at termly concerts and the Devizes Eisteddfod. Michael has taught several Wiltshire Young Musicians of the year and I hope to be one of them one day. I am very lucky to have my own baby grand piano at home, having original learned to play on a digital piano until I passed grade 6 (with a merit). I passed my grade 8 exam in May 2019 with a merit and am now working towards the Diploma.

During the Easter service at St John’s Church, Devizes in 2013, Baba (my Grandpa) asked me why I didn’t sing in the choir so I joined! I enjoy it as much today as I did the at the first rehearsal I attended. We have a superb Choir Master, Chris Totney, who always stretches us and makes us the best we can be. We have recently toured Latvia where we sang some amazing music! We sang in Hereford Cathedral last year and St Paul’s at the start of this year. We have trips Bristol and Tewkesbury planned. I also sing with my school in Chamber Choir. Through the church choir I have take the Dean’s Award and in May 2018 I passed my Bishop’s Award with Highly Commended. I will taking my Gold Award in due course.

Having attended a “Pipes and Pizza” session, hosted by the Diocese of Salisbury, I started playing the organ in December 2014 when I was nine. The intention of the event was to encourage people to learn to play the organ, encouraged all the more by the ‘Pipe Up’ scheme, which helps with the cost of lessons.  I fell in love with the organ straight away. I asked for lessons, which started at 30 minutes a time and within a few weeks I was asking for longer lessons! It didn’t take long before I was being taught for an hour a week by Chris Totney. He is a wonderful teacher, very encouraging and gives me so many unique opportunities to play in church. I’m lucky to have a really encouraging regular congregation at church and Clergy who allow me to play at services. In March 2018 I was awarded and Organ Scholarship by the Royal School of Church Music. They now generously pay for the majority of my lesson costs, along with St John’s Church, Devizes. I am very grateful to them for their support. I received a distinction in my grade 7 exam in July 2019 and am now working towards grade 8. I played my first organ recital in September 2019.

As I was working towards the Bishop’s Award, I started singing lessons with Sue Sharpe. I enjoy the lessons more than I thought I would and decided to take grades after my Bishops Award. I now learn with Michael Johnson and am working on competition and grade entries as well as the RSCM Gold Award.

I enjoy all opportunities available to me to enhance my music knowledge and am keen to be a professional organist/Director of Music in a cathedral one day. Let’s see what the future holds!