17-year-old Callum was nominated for TrinityTalent for his achievements in drumming. He achieved his Grade 8 Drums exam by working with an online tutor, Nick Baron.
Callum was nominated by his parent Juliet Bonni. Juliet said: "Callum has a huge passion for playing the drums and pushes himself to learn all varieties of music. His resilience to keep playing music during this difficult time has been incredible. When live rehearsals were stopped earlier this year, he looked for different ways to focus his music. He set up a YouTube channel where he posted drum covers of some of his favourite songs and ran a 'drumathon' in which he drummed for two hours six minutes, raising £1292 for Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff. During the lockdown, Callum also joined The LockDown Buddy Band, a group of local musicians who record a variety of covers and post them on-line."
The Trinity judges agreed: "We were impressed with Callum's determination to not let Covid-19 stop him in his tracks, and to seize every opportunity. He is constantly looking for ways to hone his talent and entertain people. He's taken this situation and turned it into something positive. A fantastic musical journey."
How has your Trinity College London qualification influenced your artistic achievement?
Over the years of learning with the Trinity Rock & Pop syllabus, I have been constantly inspired to keep climbing up the grades and to learn new skills, due to the interesting techniques it helps me develop and the opportunity to play songs that I know and love. It has sparked my creativity and allowed practising my instrument to be a fun experience.
Has taking part in a Trinity qualification helped you to develop wider skills?
Learning an instrument has had a large impact on my life in the way I communicate and create. The qualification sparked an interest in music in me that has led to me joining orchestras and ensembles where I have met some of my best and closest friends. It has also opened my eyes to the wide world of music and made me look outside the box in all my creative forms, from music to writing.
Tell us how you found the experience of recording a digital submission for music
In 2020 I had to do my Grade 8 exam digitally and I was extremely glad to be able to do so. If the opportunity was not available I would have had to wait much longer to get the grade done and it would have had a large knock-on effect on the next step in my musical journey.
Would you like to tell us anything about the challenges you’ve faced this year, and how you’ve overcome them to achieve your qualification?
Throughout 2020 I was not able to play with any of the bands or orchestras that I would usually spend so much time with, and at the beginning of the year, I was worried I would spend the year lacking in musical activities or inspiration. The fact I was still able to do my exam digitally and had such interesting pieces to learn was reassuring as I knew I had a goal to work towards. This gave me the push I needed to pursue other musical endeavours such as a charity 'drumathon' where I raised over £1000, and playing with the Cardiff online 'Lockdown Buddy Band'.
What are the next steps for you following your qualification?
Now that I have finished my Grade 8 I have begun moving onto learning diploma level pieces and will aim to get that qualification done before leaving for university in 2022.
What are your career aims?
While playing music is a huge part of my life, I don’t intend to study music at university. My other main interest is English and writing, and I am looking at studying English Literature and Creative Writing. To fit my love of music into my life, I would love to become a music journalist.
Have you got any advice for other young people working towards a Trinity qualification or Arts Award?
My main advice is to pick a qualification you are passionate about and pieces that genuinely interest you. As someone with more interest in rock music than classical and traditional music, the opportunity to play the songs I love in the Trinity Rock & Pop syllabus is what gave me the passion to carry on for years.
Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2020