TEN music students from a Winchester college are celebrating winning places to study at a number of prestigious conservatoires and music colleges this year.

After a series of challenging auditions, some live, some online, the Peter Symonds College students have been offered places at a number of conservatoires including the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Birmingham Conservatoire, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and Trinity Laban.

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Students Ben Hillier-Pafford, trombone, Hugh Sergeant, bassoon and Beth Cooper, guitar, have all won places at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Dom Holyoake, drums, and Ella Michell, flute have been offered places at Birmingham Conservatoire.

Drums student Dom said: “Contemporary courses are a strong route into a future in the music industry and provide great experience.”

Ava Kinninmonth will be studying percussion at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Benji Dege will be studying guitar at the Royal College of Music.

Louisa Broad, violin, and Kevin Winter, guitar, have places at Trinity Laban.

Louisa said: “The practice process for auditions takes a lot of drive and motivation, you need lots of rehearsal opportunities. College lunchtime concerts and lots of performance opportunities helped prepare me for the experience of auditioning.”

James Carrick-Buchanan, who has a place to study piano at the Royal Northern College of Music, said: “I’m excited to be studying music alongside other students at the top of their game – it’s very motivating and I’m looking forward to taking my talent to the next level.”

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Rachel Platt, head of music at Peter Symonds College, said: “Students this year have been offered a record number of places at some of the countries most esteemed conservatoires and music colleges, which is all the more remarkable considering the reduced opportunities for performance and practice during the pandemic. We are extremely proud of their achievements and delighted that their dedication and commitment has paid off. They are wonderful musicians and I am excited for them as they go on to develop their incredible talents.

“The audition process is a real team effort, and I am grateful to all the music department staff who work so hard to support our students, particular our head of keyboard Samantha Carrasco for organising performances and providing accompaniment, and Mike Gale for supervising applications and preparing students for their auditions. It’s a lengthy, complex and competitive process and therefore extremely rewarding to celebrate so many successes.”

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