Music & Me

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I’m Anna and I’m 15 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. Covid-19 meant I was unable to take my Diploma in summer 2020. It was planned for May but due to Covid-19 has had to be postponed. I am currently working towards Dip ABRSM.

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 and St Paul’s in 2019. We have trips Worcester and Windsor. I also sing with my school in Chamber Choir. Through the church choir I have taken the Dean’s and Bishop’s Awards. In October last year I took the Gold Award and was delighted to receive Honours. I also now have singing lessons and plan to take grade 8 in 2020.

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 a two year Organ Scholarship by the Royal School of Church Music and this was extended by a year in 2020. 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, which I hope to take in 2020, Covid allowing!

In September 2020 I started keyboard skills lessons with John Challenger through the ‘Pipe Up’ scheme. I am privileged to be able to enjoy these lessons on the Father Willis organ in Salisbury Cathedral.

I’m ever hopeful of studying music at university and pursuing a career in the industry. I hope you enjoy following my journey.

Anna