In May, recent Accelerando program alumnus Ceridwen McCooey shared her experience of this Melbourne Recital Centre mentoring program for senior secondary music students.
Her heartfelt remarks are a testament to the immense impact donors have on the lives of young musicians.
Good afternoon everyone,
My name is Ceridwen McCooey and I am a recent alumni of Melbourne Recital Centre’s Accelerando program. For those who of you who do not know, this program provides resources and education to selected students, like me, who are interested in pursuing a career in the music industry. I only have five minutes to speak, so I will not say anything you can read in a brochure. Instead, I would like to share with you my first-hand experiences of what it is like to be in this program.
I joined the Accelerando program when I was in Year 10. I had a certain amount of ambivalence combined with a complete lack of confidence. At the time, I didn't realise what an opportunity I had been given. I won’t lie, I had my doubts about whether or not to continue. However, it got to the end of the year and we were given a performance opportunity in the Salon. The thrill of being able to express myself to an audience through music gave me the confidence I needed to aim for a career in the industry - a realisation I would not have come to without this professional opportunity.
In that first year, we learned the sort of things that one usually doesn't think about. For example, how to write a biography. I’m sure we can all agree that having to write about ourselves can be excruciating, however necessary. Accelerando was designed to help with these aspects of being a musician.
My next year in the program was incredibly useful. Knowing that it would conclude with yet another opportunity to perform gave me new inspiration. I saw more concerts at the Centre and took on all the information I was given by the many mentors I met through the program. I also met more people as the program took on new students. I started to grow accustomed to the Centre and felt very at home within its walls. So much so that I decided to apply to become an usher, and now they will never get rid of me!
My passion lies in creating music that incorporates electronic looping with the acoustic cello. As you can imagine this is not necessarily an easy field to find teachers in. However, the Accelerando program offered me lessons with London looping cellist Jo Quail! Jo was incredibly encouraging of my passion telling me that were I ever to end up in London she would love to teach me. The lesson with Jo was invaluable and I can’t thank the program enough for making it happen.
My final year in the program was 2017. It was by far the best. By then the Accelerando student cohort had grown to almost three times its initial size and with every new student came a new passion, sound and creative mind. I was surrounded by jazz saxophonists, a soul singer, an indie rock vocalist, a composer, a classical cellist and a classically and Latin-trained percussionist. How wonderful it was to be surrounded by like-minded young people!
Now that I am too old to be a part of this wonderful program, I can look back with appreciation for all it gave me. It really was such a massive part of my life and final years of secondary school. It cemented my ambitions to dedicate myself to performance.
I thank everyone who made it possible for we participants to receive such knowledge and experience. You have made a big difference to lives of young artists in Melbourne and I hope you continue to do so for as long as possible.
Watch our Accelerando participants in action here - https://live.melbournerecital.com.au/accelerando-2017-highlights-reel/
The Accelerando program was initiated with funding from the Department of Education & Training, The Sentinel Foundation and the late Betty Amsden AO DSJ. It continues thanks to support from The Peggy & Leslie Cranbourne Foundation.