21-year-old Samuel was nominated from TrinityTalent 2020 for his artistic achievement in Classical and Jazz. He completed his Classical and Jazz assessment digitally due to Covid-19 and attained an LTCL Performance Diploma distinction in Classical Guitar.
Samuel was nominated for TrinityTalent by his parent Simon James. Simon wrote: "Sam has made amazing progress in his music, culminating in his LTCL Performance Diploma in 2020. After gaining his ACTL in Classical Guitar in 2016, Sam was heading off to the University of Bristol to study mathematics. He resolved that he was going to graduate with a BSc Hons in Maths and committed to achieving his LTCL at the same time. In 2020, Sam achieved his distinction with Trinity College London and gained his BSC Hons in Maths. Both huge achievements in a strange year. As with all musicians, his plans for performing professionally have been thrown into disarray, but he is still positive about the future and his music."
The Trinity judges said: "It was great how Sam set a goal for himself that he attained while working around his BSc. It's both clear and admirable he wants to share his musical talent with other people."
How has your Trinity College London qualification influenced your artistic achievement with your art?
The Trinity Diploma gave me a goal to work towards, which motivated me to practise and allowed me to share my music with others. It also gave me inspiration for music that I would grow to love playing and that will be in my repertoire for many years.
Has taking part in a Trinity qualification helped you to develop wider skills?
My creative side has definitely developed over the years, largely due to playing instruments. It has allowed me to find a release from any stress or anxiety, in which I can let my creative side come through. I believe playing an instrument has also helped me in my maths degree as it is good to have a balance between creativity and methodical thinking.
Please tell us how you found the experience of recording a digital submission for music
I was a little worried at first that I would not be able to communicate my playing fully through video, but it turned out to be absolutely fine. The whole process was fairly stress-free and easy to follow.
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?
The biggest challenge for me, and for lots of the world, was adapting to the pandemic. My university studies and Diploma were disrupted, making it harder to find the motivation to study with all the uncertainty. I overcame this with the help of my parents who suggested I record a different piece every day, helping me to practise.
What are the next steps for you following your qualification?
When cruise ships are up and running again, I would love to play my guitar on a ship for six months or so. It has been a goal for me to do this for a while, so hopefully, I can do it soon. I also plan to transfer my guitar skills into learning the Arabic oud.
What are your career aims?
I am currently studying towards becoming an actuary so aim to go into actuarial or finance.
Have you got any advice for other young people working towards a Trinity qualification or Arts Award?
Watch the movie Soul, that will give you better advice than I could.
Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2020.