13-year-old Nicole was nominated for TrinityTalent 2020 for her progress in Classical and Jazz. She completed her Classical and Jazz qualification digitally due to Covid-19, and was supported by Portsmouth High School. She attained Grade 6 in Jazz Alto Saxophone.
Nicole was nominated by Graham Parker, her parent. Graham said: "As she was homeschooling throughout March to July, Nicole decided she would try and skip her Grade 5 Jazz Alto Saxophone exam and move straight onto the Grade 6 syllabus. Her teacher at school thought this a brave step and worked with her on this but due to the circumstances, could only do so for about six hours in total. The rest of the time, Nicole practised hard on her own at home and received some help on her 'improvisation' from a saxophone playing family-friend in Dorset, on just a couple of occasions, via FaceTime on her mobile phone."
The Trinity judges said: "There is a clear demonstration of progression, with a strong desire to learn. Nicole also has great confidence and self-determination in her brave step to jump grades."
How has your Trinity College London qualification influenced your progress with your art?
I love the challenge that sitting my Trinity exams always gives me, driving me to learn, practise and achieve the best I can. It always gives me such a thrill when playing a piece well that I may have been afraid of previously. My musical ability and the confidence to learn and play different instruments have improved greatly during all of my Trinity education and examination journeys. It has also shown me how good it can feel to perform live, even when just for my family and friends.
Has taking part in a Trinity qualification helped you to develop wider skills?
When learning saxophone through Trinity, my improvisation skills have improved greatly, and also since recently starting guitar with Trinity in September, it has really helped me write better songs. With both skills combined, I have found it a lot easier all around.
Please tell us how you found the experience of recording a digital submission for music
I found it a lot easier and less stressful when recording my pieces at home for my Grade 6 Saxophone exam that I did digitally with Trinity.
Would you like to tell us anything about your personal circumstances or challenges you’ve faced this year, and how you’ve overcome them to achieve your Trinity qualification?
My circumstances are so similar to so many other girls and guys my age in that we have all faced this terrible pandemic, locked down for so much of the time away from our friends and even other members of our families. Music has always been all around me at home and playing became even more of a comfort to me. I wanted to use my time to improve my playing ability and set myself a high aim by skipping Jazz Saxophone Grade 5 and moving straight onto Grade 6 during the first national lockdown. I was so thrilled when I found out that I had achieved this and passed the exam!
What are the next steps for you following your qualification?
To keep practising and moving forward. I am now about to start my Trinity Jazz Saxophone Grade 7 and my Rock & Pop Guitar Grade 3.
What are your career aims?
Carole King is my music heroine. She has achieved so much, but once upon a time she was simply a young girl with music dreams, just like me. My all-time goal is to become a successful singer/songwriter and continue to become more and more skilled in all the instruments I am currently learning to play well.
Have you got any advice for other young people working towards a Trinity qualification or Arts Award?
Always keep music around you, it's such an amazing feeling to be able to pick up an instrument and just be able to play it, or to just be able to stand up and sing. You get such a great feeling when you get noticed for what you have done and get recognition also. Just keep going, and follow your dreams.
More about Nicole
You can find more of Nicole's performances on her Instagram.
Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2020.