One Step at a Time – Piá Bromby

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

Despite there being no academic classes in third term at the RNCM, April felt BUSY! This month, my diary welcomed the revival of String Orchestra rehearsals in the form of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings as well as chamber music rehearsals and coaching with my quartet. Being able to play with others has been (similarly to after Lockdown 1) a wonderful breath of fresh air after a lonely four months. Fingers crossed normality keeps returning and flourishing into the summer!

For me, April started with time spent at home eating way too much chocolate. The weather was sunny and my family and I managed to get out for some lovely walks and picnics. Similarly on my return to Manchester, the weather has been (on the whole) great, which has made the many shopping trips my flat and I have undertaken even better. A day out to Afflecks, M&S and Aldi is hard to beat, let me tell you!

As I mentioned, ensemble playing has been able to commence for the first time in 2021. It’s been refreshing to learn some new pieces together including a new work by RNCM composer Devon Bonelli. Having the opportunity to all work together in such an intimate setting was not only a fantastic experience for our quartet, but a real privilege. We were fortunate enough to record Devon’s piece towards the end of this month in the RNCM Carole Nash Recital Room. Performing for a live audience was such an honour and surreal experience after the year and a bit we’ve all had, but totally worth the wait!

Another highlight of mine in April had to be the Q+A session with Norwegian violinist, Henning Kraggerud (our International Chair in Violin). I saw Henning perform in my first year at the annual RNCM Strings Festival but have admired his performances and philosophy behind his music for a long time. This Q+A session was really insightful and definitely gave me lots of motivation on how to be more creative and free with performing (which is particularly challenging for me when I’m nervous). I’d really recommend watching the Q+A (even if you’re not a string player) for some very wise and inspiring words!

Thinking back to last January (2020), my schedule consisted of Symphony Orchestra/Conductors Ensemble rehearsals, chamber music rehearsals and coaching, multiple academic classes, principal study lessons and on top of all that, personal practice. When I reflect on this past month, my diary has been so sparse compared to last January yet bizarrely, I have been SO TIRED. After a day of say, some practice and a quartet rehearsal, I felt EXHAUSTED and super drained. Since Covid times, many of us have had so much more spare time and have therefore become accustomed to this slower pace of life. As life is slowly beginning to get back to normal, I (and many friends) have really felt the effects of attempting to jump back into reality too quickly. I’m surprised how long it’s taking me to adjust to a slightly busier schedule so I’m very thankful that academic classes are not in full swing this term. From the wise words of a tired violinist, please take your time! I agree, the prospect of normality is exciting but we’ve got to take things at an individual pace, one step at a time.

Before ending this blog, I have to mention an extremely sad loss for the RNCM community which occurred this month – the passing of fellow student, Josh Hall. I was never fortunate enough to know Josh, however from what I’ve seen and heard, he was a beloved friend and a very talented musician and person. He will be truly, truly missed by the entirety of the RNCM, but will forever be remembered as a part of our family.

Thanks for reading and see you soon.

Piá :)

11 May 2021