“I don’t envisage a time in my life when I will stop playing violin, and I plan on making music a part of my career.” 

Music has always been 15 year old Maisie’s core passion.  

She started playing the violin when she was six years old, as her primary school had mandatory, whole class violin lessons. The following year she was given the option of continuing to learn in weekly small group lessons with a music service teacher. 

As she progressed she was invited to join the school orchestra: 

“We won Gold in the Milton Keynes Strings Festival that year! That same year I also joined our local music centre junior strings group. Later that year I started leading that group and it grew my passion for playing in ensembles. I then continued to take weekly violin lessons, including on Zoom during the lockdown.” 

“Music has given me the opportunity to play in so many groups and ensembles and had made me so many new friends along the way. I suffer from hearing problems and music has given me the ability to focus on something that I love, but that doesn’t require me to be able to hear everything around me. I can be in my own happy place while I am playing.” 

As Masie developed musically, the time came for her to buy a new violin so she could progress. She would also need it to fulfil her dream of gaining a place in the Milton Keynes Youth and Strings Orchestra. With the violin she was using, she wouldn’t even be able to audition.  

Maisie’s family have always supported her music making, but the expense of a violin wasn’t something they could stretch to. As she says, “money has always been tight, my dad is very unwell and is disabled so we were never able to save up enough to buy a better instrument ourselves-especially when the cost of living crisis hit.” 

Maisie applied to our Awards Programme, and we saw her enthusiasm and potential, recognising how a new violin would truly allow her to flourish. The news that she’d receive an Award came at the perfect time: 

“I received notice of my Award through the post on my 15th birthday and it was the best present ever! It just absolutely blew me away – I had the biggest grin on my face all day!” 

With a new violin in hand, Maisie auditioned for the orchestra and won a place! 

“Getting my new violin allowed me to audition for and secure a place in Milton Keynes Youth and String Orchestras, which has been a dream of mine since I started playing. My original violin teacher all those years ago now conducts the String orchestra so I feel like I’ve gone full circle in a way.” 

“My favourite part of these orchestras is having the opportunity to perform in concerts and at events, and also getting to meet new people with whom I share the music bug!” 

Masie is determined to have a musical future 

“I am studying for my music GCSE, and plan to study A level music next year. I don’t envisage a time in my life when I will stop playing violin, and I plan on making music a part of my career. I am hoping to study Music in Psychology, and investigating how music affects brain function. I also plan on getting my violin diploma. Music is my passion and I hope to make it my career too.” 

Maisie is also making the most of other opportunities from AYM: 

“Being part of AYM has also given me opportunities I never imagined ever having, such as workshopping and performing alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Through AYM I was also selected to be a part of ABRSM’s Youth Advisory Boards senior panel.  

“This Award is going to make a huge difference to my life, I hope one day I will be able to pay it forwards and be able to change the life of another aspiring young musician.” 

We’re only able to help young musicians like Masie because of the generosity of our supporters. More and more young people are applying for support from Awards Programme, as the cost of living crisis continues to place greater demands on family finances. We don’t want any young people to slip through the net and not receive the support they deserve. We now need your help so we can give meaningful to support the hundreds of young people, like Maisie, who need us.  

And now, through the Big Give Christmas Challenge, any donations made between d 12 noon on Tuesday 28 November and 12 noon on Tuesday 5 December will be doubled until we reach our fundraising target of £70,000. If you believe that music is an important part of every child’s education, we hope that you will donate. Whatever you give, your gift will help young musicians like Masie, so they don’t have to give up their pursuit of a musical future. 

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