TrinityTalent 2020 | Anna Thirkettle

Anna is celebrated by TrinityTalent for Progress in Classical and Jazz.

17-year-old Anna was nominated for TrinityTalent 2020 for her progress in Classical and Jazz. She taught herself the flute, and after submitting her examination online achieved Grade 5 distinction.

Anna was nominated by her mother, Jane Thirkettle. She said: "Anna started teaching herself the flute in the summer holidays of 2018, and decided to enter herself for a Grade 5 online exam. Anna undertook all the preparation for the exam herself, learning the pieces with no guidance from a teacher, showing huge commitment. Her flute playing has massively improved as a result of the time she dedicated to her preparation for the exam, and it hugely developed her musicality and independence. She was overjoyed to receive comments such as "a most stylish performance",  "clear musicality and technical assurance" and "beautiful intonation"."

The Trinity judges said: "We are impressed with how Anna stepped out of her comfort zones to learn a new instrument without a teacher, and demonstrated exceptional self-dedication, as demonstrated in her achievement of a distinction."


How has your Trinity College London qualification influenced your artistic achievement with your art? 

My Trinity Music Grade 5 exam was vital in my progress in teaching myself the flute as it gave me a goal to work towards, which helped me push my abilities further. I also used the Grade 5 syllabus to help structure my methods in teaching myself, by following the repertoire and scale lists, because I didn’t have a teacher to ask for suggestions. 

Has taking part in a Trinity qualification helped you to develop wider skills?  

Gaining my Grade 5 qualification greatly improved my confidence in my abilities on flute, as I don’t have a teacher to give me advice! I have also taken Grade 8 Trinity qualifications in clarinet and jazz saxophone, so learning the flute helps my career development, as I am interested in woodwind doubling.

Please tell us how you found the experience of recording a digital submission for music

Recording a digital music submission gave me a valuable experience to reflect on my playing, which was especially useful when teaching myself, as I watched back practice recordings and used this to guide myself on what I should work on.

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? 

I am principally a clarinettist, and I was very disappointed when lots of my orchestral opportunities were cancelled due to lockdown. I decided to use my spare time to prepare for my Grade 5 Flute exam, which I had wanted to do for a while, but didn’t have the time when attending the sixth form and practising two other instruments! At the same time as taking my Grade 5 Flute exam, I also took my Grade 8 Jazz Alto Saxophone exam, so I had to balance the two. 

What are the next steps for you following your qualification?

I am currently working on teaching myself Grade 6 Flute repertoire. I am working towards a Grade 8 Classical exam on alto saxophone, and I plan to take an ATCL Diploma in Clarinet Performance this year. 

What are your career aims?

I would like to become a professional musician. I am interested in playing in orchestras and pit orchestras, as well as instrumental teaching. In September I am going to study clarinet at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and I think the skills I have learnt on flute will be extremely useful in my studies.

Have you got any advice for other young people working towards a Trinity qualification or Arts Award?

Record yourself playing through your pieces, listen back to them, and use this to help you identify areas to work on. It can be hard to listen to yourself, but it’s extremely valuable for self-improvement! Practising effectively, rather than just going over the same passages in the same way, is the key to improving!


Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2020.

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Trinity Talent

Trinity Talent [email protected]

TrinityTalent celebrates talented young people achieving Trinity’s music, drama and Arts Award qualifications in the UK.

Teachers and students can nominate young artists aged 13-25 who have shown excellence in one of the following categories during 2020: ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT | CREATIVE FLAIR | PROGRESS | LEADERSHIP

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