Nine-year-old Christiana is in the first year of her Scholarship. She has already made outstanding progress and recently achieved a distinction in her Grade 3 clarinet. At our Fundraising Lunch with the Mayor of London, Christiana gave a powerful speech about what her Scholarship means to her. The whole room was engrossed by her story and inspired by her passion for music. We are so proud to call her a London Music Fund Scholar and we look forward to seeing what she will achieve next! Here is her speech.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My name is Christiana Adebisi. I am nine years old. I live in Croydon with my mother and my 6-year-old brother Anthony. It’s a really lovely place.
My first love is the clarinet. This instrument has changed my life in many ways and it has given me the opportunity to enter a new world. Music has always made me feel good. I like listening to Yolanda Brown and Katy Perry. I always played music when I was sad and it made me feel so happy. I’ve been playing the clarinet for almost three years now. I started in year 3 and now I’m in year 5. I like playing Georgie by Emma Johnson, it really sounds so beautiful, and the Theme from ‘The Young Prince and The Young Princess’.
I got the email about the London Music Fund Scholarship when I was on summer holiday in Nigeria with my grandpa. It came as a big shock because I never knew anything of this Scholarship. I have to say a big thank you to Mrs. Bird, my music teacher and Mrs. B, my mentor, who put my name forward for the scholarship. None of this would have been possible without them.
My Scholarship pays for me to come for Saturday lessons in the morning at Croydon Music and Arts and for my Thursday lesson I do with Mrs. Bird for 20 minutes. I come to CMA at 9 o’clock to go to chamber choir. After an hour of singing I go to woodwind choir for my clarinet for 40 minutes, then I have a 15 minute break, after that I have Concert Band and finish at 12:15pm.
My scholarship also allows me the opportunity to go to concerts like the Beethoven concert, where I met the clarinet master Michael Collins with his basset clarinet, I was so happy. Also the London Music Fund arranges concerts and practice sessions at places like the Guildhall School of Music where scholars get together and play their instruments. I have made so many special friends outside of school during London Music Fund playing days. It is great that we share the same passion.
Having a mentor like Mrs. B and Mrs. Bird is like having music mums. Mrs. Bird is always there if I am worried about anything and I can always pop round Mrs. B’s door at Saturday music lessons. Or mum can always call or chat through ideas. We always find a solution.
In sessions we work on ‘purple patches’ – the weaker areas in my pieces – scales, aural and sight-reading for exams. Mrs. B teaches me in our mentor sessions to go through the bits I am not confident in, with a different rhythm in a fun way using dynamics. We think about the mood of the piece and picture in my mind what could be happening, so I can enjoy my performance and so can the audience. I try to establish a good practice routine, an hour a day in my room. This makes my brother stay away from the room thankfully.
I know my mum really appreciates the financial support as it gives me this extra amazing opportunity. The Scholarship has also helped take the pressure off my mum, as she has been the one paying for it for the past two years and has struggled recently in supporting my brother in his martial arts and football. She has had to work extra hours – she works as a Health Care Assistant - and we have had to spend less family time together. Life can be difficult. The Scholarship means a lot to my whole family and it makes my mum very happy and proud of me.
My music always makes me happy and gives me a sense of accomplishment. Mrs. B, Mrs. Bird and my mum always say how proud of me they are and my continuous practice and progress, I hope this reflects in my schoolwork as well :)
In the future I would like to play other instruments like the flute. I also want to become a famous instrument player and inspire others like me.
This Scholarship means everything to me. It gives me more self-confidence and it also makes my family proud of me and I myself. It gives me the opportunity to inspire others.
Finally I also feel happy and a sense of accomplishment with every performance.
It shows there is always light in the darkness.