Back to Manchester! – Piá Bromby

Digital Ambassador Piá Bromby chronicles life as an RNCM violinist in a series of monthly blog posts.

February (as always) was short and sweet and flew by in a flash – the many pancakes I consumed on Tuesday the 16th sadly seem like a very distant memory. Yet despite this month flying by, it definitely didn’t disappoint and brought us the news that we’d all been waiting for – College doors were re-opening! Although we’re not out of the woods yet, things seem to finally be on the right track back to ‘normality’, whatever normality may mean. Although it’s been lovely at home these past few months enjoying many sunny AND snowy walks, I’m packed and ready to move back to Manchester to see friends and make some music.

For me, the start of February meant that technicals were finally over after a very busy January – what a relief and a half! I find that practising something for such a long time often gets harder and harder to keep fresh and alive, so it’s been lovely to inject some creativity into new repertoire this month. I’ve started learning a few pieces by Kreisler so it’s been great to have the space to explore this composer as it’s my first time playing any of his works. I also gave myself the task of entering The Royal Philharmonic Society Young Writer’s Competition, therefore getting that deadline (02/02) and technicals (04/02) out of the way in the same week made the ‘freedom’ taste even better!

Aside from normal academic and principal study lessons, I’ve been REALLY enjoying the weekly Zoom folk classes being run by Donald Grant (Deputy Head of Chamber Music). I’ve come to adore this type/style of playing as it’s so freeing and makes such a lovely change to the music I’m used to playing on the violin. Don’t get me wrong, I obviously LOVE classical music but I think it’s super important to embrace and explore new avenues too; this style has enabled me to do exactly that, to just have fun and let go! It’s refreshing and challenging to be a newbie at something, to start from the bottom and build up.

Speaking of starting from the bottom… I bought myself a bass guitar! I’ve wanted one for years so finally gave in and got one (she’s BEAUTIFUL!). I’ve spoken to many friends and fellow musicians online who have also decided to start learning a new instrument, venturing into the world of ‘self taught’. It’s so lovely how the RNCM/musical community still thrives despite this crazy pandemic, how we’re still all together at heart. This sense of community has helped me during this lockdown and has given me motivation and inspiration to carry on making music, especially on my new bass!

I finally rounded this month off with a lovely Q+A session alongside Lynne Dawson (Head of RNCM School of Vocal Studies and Opera) to students from Yorkshire Young Musicians (YYM). As a YYM Alumni, it was humbling to return to my roots and speak to current students about conservatoire life. The session felt very hopeful and bright for the future which is what we all need right now!

Apart from musical bits and bobs, I’ve started rewatching ‘Friends’, rediscovered my true love for Wii Sports (golf is my speciality, NO SHAME) and made friends with the many local cats on my daily walks. It’s been yet another eventful month, resulting in a less clouded light at the end of the tunnel. With some hope hanging in the air – back to Manchester we go!

See you soon,

Piá :)


10 March 2021