There is much on offer besides instrumental lessons, shares the cellist

Sophie (Norwegian Ac) pc Michael Shelford

Sophie Kauer © Michael Shelford

One of my favourite things about the Norwegian Academy of Music is how supportive it is. The students and teachers are so positive. There is no feeling of competition; instead, people are great at giving compliments and lifting each other up. Students always check up on each other to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves both mentally and physically. Teachers are also very generous with their time. As well as lessons with my cello teacher, I love having private tuition with musicians that don’t play the cello. You gain a whole new perspective. The faculty is really dedicated to teaching and helping in any way they can. The school is also very supportive creatively, which leads to students taking a lot of initiative. There are always different projects going on, of all genres and styles.

There is also so much offered outside your instrumental lessons. You can take electives in anything from mindful practice to recording techniques. To prepare you for the professional world, they also organise orchestral weeks with simulated orchestra auditions and lectures about the orchestral profession. These have been a real highlight of my time at the school. The academy also has partnerships with major Norwegian orchestras, making it possible for us to audition for them. With the various types of support you get from the school – especially in the last years when many of us are already working – you’re able to transition seamlessly into the professional world.

Finally, Oslo is a fantastic place to live, and the academy is very central. The city is cosy and calm, and everywhere is easy to get to. More generally, being in Norway is great because of how much funding and respect is given to classical music and the arts. As with the academy, you feel supported and genuinely valued.

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