Tom Hicks, GRNCM/MusB Piano, 2015

When did you first start playing the piano?

I was encouraged to start playing at the age of 4 by my great-grandmother who played herself and improvised for silent movies.

Why did you choose the ‘Joint Course’ (GRNCM/MusB)? What are the benefits to you of studying this programme?

When studying music, courses themselves and their component parts can become increasingly compartmentalised into performance-related and academic-related studies. The Joint Course offers an exciting and natural cohesion, where the performance work undertaken at RNCM feeds the academic work at the University and vice versa.

How much time do you typically spend at the RNCM and at the University? Do you feel part of both institutions?

People seem to gravitate towards one or the other at different times – where there are exams and deadlines at one or the other for instance. The first people you meet are likely to be roommates in halls from RNCM, but most contact time then takes place at the University. It’s easy to meet people at both institutions and feel at home on both sides of Booth Street West.

What has been your biggest achievement or proudest moment so far?

Whilst on the Joint Course I’ve been lucky enough to have many projects on the go and it’s very hard to pick just one: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed performing all of the Rachmaninov Concerti in Guernsey for instance and performing in competitions such as the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition. My university degree results should feature too, having graduated in the top 0.5% of the university that year.

To find out more about the MusB/GRNCM Programme, or ‘Joint Course’ click here.

To find out more about the School of Keyboard Studies, click here.

Tom has now completed his course and is undertaking postgraduate studies at Yale University, USA.