Bethan Plant, BMus Trumpet

Why did you choose to study at the RNCM?

RNCM is always the place I wanted to study when I was younger. I was in a youth brass band growing up and we used to play in competitions at the RNCM, so it’s a place that I’ve been familiar and comfortable with for a long time. I really enjoy it here. I love being surrounded by everybody else who’s a musician as well; people who all understand each other.

Why did you start playing the trumpet?

Both of my parents are brass banders so I grew up on that side of things. I started at the College on cornet and I transferred this year to trumpet. It’s something I knew I wanted to do. Trumpet is played in a different way – the airflow’s a bit different so it’s something I’ve had to get used to.  But it’s also learning how to play music from different time periods, because brass band music is mostly modern while trumpet repertoire is stylistically more varied.

Do you still play in big bands?

Yeah, I still play cornet in the College brass band. I haven’t had to completely cut out cornet in favour of trumpet. I don’t have to do one or the other.

Are you enjoying your studies?

Yes, a lot. I’m really enjoying my lessons with Murray Greig. We’ve also had several different tutors come in and give us advice – Mark O’Keeffe, David King, Tom Osborne. It’s really good to get different opinions and ideas of how to perform different pieces.

Do you have a favourite type of music?

My favourite is orchestral music, Mahler symphonies in particular. Playing cornet in brass band means you’re playing all the time, whereas in orchestras there’s a comparative lot of counting rests – but I like it. It’s just a different way of playing.

What’s a typical day like as an RNCM student?

I’m not really a morning person so I usually get up around 12, and then I stay up quite late and do my practice because College stays open until 11.45. The course keeps you quite busy, but a nice kind of busy. The staff and tutors keep you on your toes; they keep you working. They’re not relaxed about things but they’re not strict, they just get the best out of you.

What’s your favourite thing about the RNCM?

I like the refectory because when you walk in and there’s always somebody you know to chat with if you’re waiting to go to a lesson or something. Also, the RNCM is a good place to make contacts to set yourself up for the future. If I wasn’t here I wouldn’t have met half the people that might potentially provide me with job opportunities in the future.

What are some highlights from your time at the RNCM?

Last year we had Phil Cobb come in, Principal Trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra. He did a masterclass and mini-recital, which was great. Another highlight was playing in the orchestra with Miklós Perényi performing Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto. That was special.

What do you have planned after you graduate?

I’m still unsure, I will be auditioning for orchestras. I would like to perform but I also enjoy teaching so that could be another route that I go down. I do some occasional teaching now which I enjoy.