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Removing Barriers for Young Musicians

Posted on 21 February 2019

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Peter Qiang is 16 and has a hearing impairment. He moved to England from China a few years ago and was already a proficient piano player. He was shy and couldn’t speak much English and was keen to continue his musical development. Then he found out about The Glasshouse International Centre for Music’s Make Music: Young People programme.

The programme’s staff and tutors were really impressed with Peter and, knowing he had a little way to go before he would be comfortable in the Centre For Advanced Training, nurtured and encouraged him until he was ready to progress further. The CAT is a high-level music training programme for young people with a passion for music and exceptional potential.

Peter secured a place in the CAT in 2017 (one year on from joining) learning piano with his tutor Oona Prendiville. His mum (Ofelia) has been amazed by how far he has come in such a short space of time.

Ofelia said: “Up until he joined Make Music, his tuition had been very technical. The tutors here have opened him up to a whole new way of learning. They talk about the composers and the history of the piece. They’ve taught him about feeling the music and the emotion behind it.

“He’s had the opportunity to watch and learn from the finest musicians in a fantastic music environment. His performance and confidence have improved so much. It’s been an incredible journey for him.”

Through Make Music Peter has found out about national competitions and awards and has gone on to perform in London with ‘Future Talent’ at a concert hosted by Alexander Armstrong. He won the Worsley Award from Future Talent and the Alfred Gundry Piano Award from Award for Young Musicians.

His ambition is to raise awareness of music for people who are hearing impaired and he hopes to hold a recital for this cause in the near future.

Peter said: “Being part of Make Music has broadened my horizons and has opened up so many opportunities. I have found peers that have the same interests and hobbies as me and everyone is treated equally in the world of music. It’s a great environment.

“Since I joined it has been my dream to play in The Glasshouse’s main concert halls and I was able to do this at the Winter Festival in December.” Peter is also now learning the cello and composition and is excited about creating his own music.

Make Music: Young People includes opportunities for young singers and instrumentalists, from choirs, bands and ensembles to formal tuition and training. It is open to musicians of all ages and backgrounds and there are bursaries available. Many students don’t pay any fees at all.

Wendy Smith, Director of Creative Learning at The Glasshouse, said: “We are very proud of what Peter has achieved and hope his story will inspire other young people to study music with us.

“We are here to remove barriers and challenges for young musicians. Make Music: Young People is open to everybody, whatever their personal circumstances. Young musicians here come from lots of different backgrounds and play a huge range of musical styles so come along and meet us. We would love to welcome you and help you to reach your musical potential.”

Photo credit © Michael Olatunji