Autumn Term – Angelina-Ellada Pavlou

Digital Ambassador Angelina-Ellada Pavlou chronicles life as an RNCM pianist in a series of monthly blog posts.

I must admit I didn’t expect such a busy start to the year. After my final Master recital at the end of September, I was prepared for a rather quiet year.

Last year, I completed the intensive Master of Music course, hoping to continue my studies at RNCM in the PGDip course. It was a difficult and risky decision whether to study another year or not. In these uncertain and financially difficult times, remaining a student was the best choice. In addition, having good friends as potential flatmates really tempted me to come back.

After five inactive months, I returned back to the UK from Greece where I spent the global lockdown, to practise for my final recital, find a flat for the next year and move out of my old flat. Though what felt exciting and busy was at the same time intense and stressful as I was alone, and I had to accommodate various issues in my life with the uncertainty of the next few months following me. I was very glad that most of my summer concerts weren’t cancelled, and that gave me the opportunity to travel more. As a matter of fact, the flights and trains I had since the beginning of the pandemic were more than I had done in the previous year. Remaining healthy and managing to get through all these changes was very encouraging and empowering.

What followed was a busy academic start with new repertoire on the plate. I chose to follow the artistic research module and write two PhD proposals. I made a plan with my piano teacher to enter piano competitions next year, therefore my main practice is focused on that repertoire.

The highlight of October was forming a chamber duo with a cellist from the RNCM, and we recently performed in an exam of his. That required weekly lessons and chamber coaching and casual rehearsals. The programme was very demanding, particularly the piano part, therefore I had to dedicate that month to our duo. I loved playing with another musician again, especially getting to do so in a time when every collaboration is difficult.

Setting up a life as an independent musician, while still juggling studies, has been very tricky. It has been very challenging to find private students for piano teaching, as each month with virus restrictions is very uncertain. I was more than lucky to get five new private students and therefore provide for most of my income. Since then, stress significantly reduced, and focus has been restored back to piano practice. Most of my days include practice in college or at home, with some breaks for teaching and a lot of cycling.

Cycling has been the healthiest part of my routine – using my bike to travel between students, covering an approximate of seven hours cycling per week. Although rain and Northern, grey skies don’t always make for the best cycling conditions!

24 November 2020