18-year-old Orla was nominated for TrinityTalent 2020 for her leadership in Classical and Jazz. She completed her Classical and Jazz qualification at All Sorts of Music and attained a Grade 8 distinction in Classical Piano.
Orla was nominated by the Director of All Sorts of Music, Kate Griffin. Kate said: "Over the last year Orla began teaching some of the younger students at our music school to gain experience, this includes students with additional needs and students who wouldn't otherwise have the chance to learn due to financial hardship in the family. She has entered students for Trinity College London exams, all of whom have passed. When lockdown happened we were unsure if this teaching could continue but despite having some technical challenges, Orla decided to continue teaching these children online. The plan had been for Orla to stop teaching these children when she moved to University in September 2020 but she decided to continue so that the students had continuity in this new unsettling world."
The Trinity judges said: "It's fantastic that she has taken her flair for her instrument and has the intuition, dedication and desire to want to pass that on to others, even when she didn't need to."
How has your Trinity qualification influenced your leadership skills and progress with your art?
Preparing and completing my Grade 8 Piano exam whilst in my final year of school allowed me to have a creative and expressive outlet, which helped alleviate the pressure of A-levels and university applications. Additionally, the skills I adopted from taking the Trinity exams enabled me to be able to teach my own students and share the enjoyment and gratification I feel from playing.
Has taking part in a Trinity qualification helped you to develop wider skills?
It is clear that studying the piano has drastically improved my confidence. Experiences such as performing in concerts, taking exams and even playing for my grandparents have encouraged me to feel comfortable in expressing myself. This matured confidence has been applicable to both my studies of music and other academic pursuits. However, I consider it to be most valuable when teaching, and I hope that my students are able to see how enabling playing music can be. When I first began teaching I found discussing the student’s progress with their parents intimidating and uncomfortable, but with time I've grown to feel at ease and enjoy talking with them and have now entered many students for exams, all of whom have achieved great results.
Please tell us how you found the experience of recording a digital submission for music
I recorded my Grade 8 Piano exam in the midst of the pandemic using Trinity's digital format. Initially, I felt nervous as I had worked really hard for the exam and hoped – in spite of technical difficulties – that my hard work would be conveyed. But my mind was eased as the digital performance was less nerve-wracking than a face to face exam meaning I could fully focus on the quality of my playing.
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?
During the recording of my exam I faced some technical difficulties, the devices being used were producing a bad sound quality, meaning that many of the nuances within the pieces (intricate pedalling, and articulation) were being lost. We came to the solution of my piano teacher recording my exam pieces on her device, with adequate social distancing measures.
What are the next steps for you following your qualification?
I am currently preparing for the Trinity Performance Diploma.
What are your career aims?
I do not have a definitive career idea as of yet. However, I am in the midst of my first year on a Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology, and my current interests lie with clinical psychology and neuroscience, so I hope to pursue this line of interest.
Have you got any advice for other young people working towards a Trinity qualification or Arts Award?
Persevere, when it gets challenging then consider how incredible it will feel to achieve. Ensure that you enjoy what you are playing and choose the pieces that will help you thrive.
Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2020.