Studying in London is a lifestyle that fosters improvement, says the violist

Elliot (Guildhall, UK) pc Isabelle Harris

Elliot Kempton © Isabelle Harris

One of the main things that attracted me to the master’s course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama was the emphasis on teaching and the number of hours dedicated to it. I get 60 hours of one-to-one tuition per year, and that’s on top of chamber coaching and masterclasses. I felt this dedication to teaching was the main thing I needed from a postgraduate degree in order to improve. I also particularly enjoy the focus on chamber music and the opportunities I have been given to improve myself in that field.

The environment at Guildhall School is the perfect balance between being competitive but not fierce. Everyone is happy when another student does well and there is a lot of encouragement coming from students and teachers alike. It can be very intense and we’re expected to prepare ourselves to a high standard, which I enjoy; it’s showing us first-hand what the profession expects. It’s fair to say that all students feel the intensity equally, and there’s a sense of camaraderie between us. The intensity is also paralleled by living in London. Although it can get a bit overwhelming at times, the busy atmosphere makes it very difficult not to be productive! Studying in London is a lifestyle that fosters improvement.

There’s a huge variety of opportunities at Guildhall by virtue of it having other artistic departments within the school, as well as partnerships with surrounding organisations and orchestras. It means that there are a lot of student-run projects and we’re free to be very creative. So many of these opportunities launch us into the professional world, all while still feeling nurtured. I’d be very surprised if, once I’ve left Guildhall, I were presented with something I didn’t know anything about. With the variety of things we’re offered, we get an idea of what the profession is like, and that’s the best preparation you can ask for.

Best of Technique

In The Best of Technique you’ll discover the top playing tips of the world’s leading string players and teachers. It’s packed full of exercises for students, plus examples from the standard repertoire to show you how to integrate the technique into your playing.


The Strad’s Masterclass series brings together the finest string players with some of the greatest string works ever written. Always one of our most popular sections, Masterclass has been an invaluable aid to aspiring soloists, chamber musicians and string teachers since the 1990s.


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