Abigail Davies: BMus Cello

How has your time been at the RNCM?

It’s been amazing, it was a great decision coming here. Being surrounded by music all the time just makes you want to play and practise and work really hard. There are millions of opportunities and the course itself is really good. They are training you to go into a career in music, whatever you choose to do. In our lectures they bring in different musicians who speak about what they’ve had to do to get where they are. So you really get a sense of the professional world after graduation. The teachers are also really dedicated. Head of Strings, Chris Hoyle will do anything and everything to help you in whatever way, if you’re struggling for whatever reason. It feels so good to have that support around you. I’ve also loved having the chance to try out different styles of music: jazz, pop, musical theatre, contemporary.

What is a normal day like at the RNCM? 

It’s normally very busy. You obviously have all your academic subjects and then you might have orchestra and then you might have a chamber music rehearsal, or you could have your principal study lesson. You are just constantly doing stuff, which is really good. It keeps you busy. And Chris Hoyle often puts on technique workshops and masterclasses as well.

You’ve recently been delving into the pop side of things. Can you tell us more about that?

I was always interested in pop music because before I came to music college. I’ve always loved pop as well as classical. Last year I got put in the RNCM Session Orchestra, which is made up of popular music and classical students. It was amazing. As string players we can be, not rigid, but we don’t really move and can just be concentrating on our parts. In the Session Orchestra they wanted us to dance and sway and move around so it was really good to learn that kind of stuff. Before coming to the RNCM I’d never done session music I didn’t really know string instruments were in pop music really. So if there’s a genre you’re interested in, you can just talk to your Head of School and they can make it happen. This year I’ve also been able to take pop electives: recording and production. Everyone else in the class is pop course and I’m the only classical but it’s great to get the opportunity to do that. It’s been really interesting, I’ve really enjoyed it.

How are you liking Manchester?

It was so easy to settle in. I’m from Birmingham which is geographically very spread out, while Manchester’s much more compact. So you’re in quite close vicinity to everything you’ll ever need here. I live in the Charles Grove Hall of Residence next to College, and I’ve got restaurants only two minutes away and the centre really close. The city has so much stuff going on, there are music events every night, it’s great.

What do you want to do after graduation?

After College I’m still deciding if I’ll do a Postgrad; ideally I want to do something within session music or musical theatre. And I’m getting so much experience session orchestra wise, and then I feel like the more stuff I do the more contacts I’ll get. So RNCM is setting me up really well for that. And for musical theatre the RNCM has a Young Theatre Company and they’re always emailing you with opportunities like ‘This high school needs a cello,’ so lots of opportunities and contacts I’ve been able to make.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do after College before I got here but I didn’t ever consider playing in session orchestras. I just thought, ‘Oh I’ll just be in an orchestra or something,’ but there are just so many options and opportunities. The RNCM will help you to set things up and provide you with a lot of contacts along the course of your studies.