Nathan, age 11, is a fantastic example of a Mayor’s Music Scholar. He works extremely hard to achieve the goals he sets for himself, but also displays initiative and passion for the violin and music. Nathan and his best friend have set up and run a weekly school music group in which all instruments are welcome! On top of this Nathan is first violin at Enfield Youth Concert Orchestra, and regularly composes his own music on the violin. Nathan achieved Grade 5 with a distinction and has even been awarded the top Music and Arts scholarship to his secondary school. What more can I say!
Why did you decide to play the violin? What makes it stand out?
Funny story actually! I was putting my bag away at school in year 2 and then I saw my friend putting my other friend’s bag in her drawer. I asked why, and she said it was because she was at her violin lesson. I then went home and asked my mum if I could learn.
The thing that makes the violin stand out is that it sounds different. When you hear it in another room you think, “Ah that’s the violin.”
Has your violin taken you to some fun places? If so, where?
Well, some people wouldn’t think this as cool but I have performed at a festival at Forty Hall in Enfield, and I am in the band at my church. I perform at school too! I have enjoyed the scholars’ playing days at great venues in London. I also gained a performing arts scholarship to my future secondary school. I would like to play at more exciting events if I have the opportunity.
What type or style of music do you like playing the most?
I like playing classical music the most as it is nice and relaxing, and sometimes dramatic. It can have twists and turns, and you never know how it will end. I also like rock music as it sounds very surprising on a violin.
If you could perform alongside someone famous, who would it be?
If I were to perform alongside someone famous it would be Nigel Kennedy because he truly inspires me. He has been in so many orchestras and shows. I want to be able to play like him when I am older.
Has the MMF scholarship enabled you to have new opportunities?
I would be lost without the Mayor’s Music Fund as I have been able to join the Enfield concert orchestra and much more. It has also helped me carry on playing the violin as it has made me feel like I’m actually good at it. I am very grateful to Michelle Taylor-Cohen (my violin teacher) for nominating me and helping me to achieve what I have. I have set up a music club at my school with my best friend, and it has been very successful. We have performed in assembly. The club members play the violin, viola, cello, xylophone, piano and drums.
What advice would you give to scholars who have just started their scholarship?
The advice I would give: when your mum asks you if you want to join an orchestra or tells you to practise, or your nan bugs you to play her favourite piece a million times, just do it as the time flies by (I have been there). Just make the most of all the possibilities.