“Lockdown during the pandemic was tough and I struggled to find motivation. But during such time AYM were there virtually to help us through it!”

18 year old violinist Kayla is just one of the 800 young musicians we’re currently supporting. Here, she talks about her musical journey.

“I started playing the violin when I was eight years old and I’ve received AYM Awards since I was 14. One of the many things AYM have helped towards is my weekly chamber music sessions. At the end of July last year, we performed Smetena’s 1st string Quartet, and a rather interesting string trio by Dohnanyi, in concert. After so much disruption this year, it was an absolute joy to start playing in these groups during the summer term and to perform chamber music to a live audience again.

“Back in 2019, myself and six other AYM musicians performed together at the new Voces 8 Centre for one of AYM’s chamber music projects. We played the 1st movement of Saint-Saen’s Septet which is scored for two violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano and trumpet. It’s a fantastic piece of music and I was surprised to be playing with an unusual number of seven people, and I also never expected to be playing in a chamber ensemble with a trumpet! It was definitely one of my favourite concerts I’ve done..

“As for many of us, lockdown during the pandemic was tough and many young musicians like myself struggled to find motivation for practice with the lack of concerts and rehearsals. But during such time AYM were there virtually to help us all through it! They provided a variety of musical activities online during the year. One I enjoyed the most were the weekly sessions we did with violinist Thomas Gould, which I benefitted from in many ways, one keeping motivated each week with something to look forward to and I find my playing improved quite a bit – I used one of the pieces we played in my conservatoire auditions.”

These auditions went well – later this month Kayla will be starting her undergraduate course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama!

As well as her successful audition, Kayla has accomplished a great deal of musical achievements with some of her proudest moments being playing Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto with her school orchestra, leading the Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble, being a finalist in the Junior Guildhall’s Lutine Prize and being awarded the Principal’s Prize at Junior Guildhall.

Kayla continues on her experience of being on AYM’s Awards programme.

“There are many other opportunities I have had with AYM such as the virtual Awards Day where I had a masterclass with Molly Cockburn from the BBC Symphony Orchestra. I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a workshop with Saxophonist Jess Gillam and I’ve also had a feature in The Telegraph which is not something that happens every day! So I would like to thank AYM for everything they’ve done for me. Thank you!”

We’re only able to help young musicians like Kayla because of the generosity of our supporters – thank you!

Kayla is a recipient of the Monica and Quintin Des Clayes Award. These Awards launched in 2020, thanks to a generous legacy gift from the Des Clayes family. Each year, 25 young musicians will receive financial help for their music making and individual support for their musical progression, as part of our Awards programme. Find out more in the link below.

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