Mira’s Experience with Online Learning at Young Con

Mira Love’s passion for the violin has been nurtured through the Young Conservatorium program. Mira shares with us her experience in the program, her advice to students and the transition to online learning.

Why did you start at Young Conservatorium?

I was attending SHEP at the Con when a lady from the Young Conservatorium noticed me and invited me to join the Young Conservatorium. I had wanted to do more with my music but had had no idea what I needed. I knew that Young Conservatorium was exactly what I was looking for. It was a massive decision for my family because we live on the Sunshine Coast. This means a two-hour drive every week. My parents are very supportive and being part of the Young Conservatorium is a dream come true.

Tell us a bit about your experience at Young Conservatorium.

Attending the Young Conservatorium is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Young Con is phenomenal. The teachers are outstanding because they’ve got a huge wealth of knowledge and experience that they’re willing to share. They achieve an amazing balance between improving individual skills, ensemble skills, and understanding the music we are playing. The teachers are super aware and will notice when you need something more challenging, or need a more advanced teacher. The whole Young Conservatorium team are so supportive. At the end of every single lesson and rehearsal at Young Con I feel as if my brain, my soul, my entire being, is full to bursting and completely loving every moment.

The facilities at Young Conservatorium are absolutely exquisite. We have access to professional-level performance and rehearsal spaces, as well as a plethora of resources — both online and offline — that we can use. I love being able to go into the Conservatorium library and see and feel centuries worth of information and repertoire. When I go into Young Con, I’m surrounded by music-lovers who are as serious as I am about music.

What has the transition to online learning been like?

In the extended-term break I yearned to be back at the Young Conservatorium. The Con made this possible by using Zoom and Smart music.

The transition to online learning has been really smooth. Young Con have always been completely transparent and let us know what’s happening with online learning. They’ve maintained the rich connection to the teachers and the students that I get when I am physically at the Young Con.

Online learning, which doesn’t allow us to play together as an ensemble, has given us the facility to focus on technique and individual playing. It’s allowed the teachers to give us invaluable pointers around how a part should be played. It’s been especially beneficial for me because it means that we don’t have to drive down and back to Brisbane twice a week. While it’s totally worth it, I appreciate the extra time to practice.

Have there been any lessons or specific teachers who have inspired you throughout your time here?

All the teachers at Young Conservatorium have been amazing! If I had to pick a couple that have been especially outstanding, then topping the list would be Stefanie Smith, one of my Symphony Orchestra conductors and my Chamber Music teacher. Stef is candid and gets a perfect balance between completely filling our minds and encouraging us to think about the topics or ideas we look at. She also creates an amazing balance between theory and playing. She’ll tell us when something is off and expects and teaches us how to reach a high standard, but is also very supportive. I am so grateful to Stef for arranging a lesson for me with Michele Walsh. This eventuated in me taking lessons with Anne Horton at the Conservatorium Uni. Studying with Anne, this continues to improve my playing phenomenally.

Gwyn Roberts, who also conducts the Symphony Orchestra, has been amazing. He’s very kind and supportive and takes an interest in me as an individual. He dives into amazing detail with the pieces and covers many aspects of our playing in a rehearsal.

Why Violin?

I feel as though playing the violin is in my soul, my bones and my blood. I adore it. My family on my mother’s side come from Eastern Europe and I think that this contributes to my love of the violin and of Eastern European music. I first picked up the violin in year 4 when I was nine years old. At my school, we had to take lessons in an instrument for the year. My first preference was flute, my second violin and my third clarinet. I’m so grateful that they chose my second preference. Violin is my life.

Have you had many opportunities to perform? Which one was your favorite and why?

For me, something magical happens when I perform. I adore performing and have had many opportunities to perform.

Every performance in the Conservatorium Theatre is brilliant. The space has fantastic acoustics and an amazing way of bringing together all the hours of rehearsal and focus and lifts repertoire pieces to a whole new level. All my performances with the Young Conservatorium have been magnificent.

A stand-out performance with the Young Conservatorium was the Bands in the Park concert held last year at the Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens. The Symphony Orchestra played, among other pieces, an arrangement of Scheherazade. The piece begins with a dramatic, dark introduction that includes a beautiful solo that I had the privilege to play. It was absolutely magical.

My favorite memory of solo performance to date is when I competed and won the Sunshine Coast Junior String Championship. In the car on the way to the venue, we listened to one of my favorite songs, ABBA’s Waterloo. I love listening to this before I perform because it gets me into an awesome headspace. I felt absolutely beautiful. There are some performances where I get into a higher focus and am completely aware of everything going on in the room, yet completely and utterly engrossed in the music.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

My proudest achievement so far is leading all of my ensembles at the Young Conservatorium. It’s such a privilege.

Another achievement that I’m very proud of is winning the Sunshine Coast Junior String Championship. I had been working very hard in the lead-up, putting all of my learning at the Young Con into practice, and I felt that the performance was a magical synthesis moment. Also, I’ve just submitted my Grade 8 violin exam and I’m very pleased with my performance.

Do you have any advice for students looking to start lessons at Young Conservatorium?

Do it! Take every opportunity you can get!

On a more practical note, you’ll get much more out of lessons and rehearsals at Young Conservatorium if you’ve practiced the part beforehand. If you don’t have time, make time.

What are your plans for the future? Are you planning on continuing your studies at the Queensland Conservatorium?

Yes, yes, yes! I will become a world-class violin soloist — it is my dream. I plan on completing my tertiary studies at the Queensland Conservatorium. I’m so blessed to have one of the top 50 tertiary music institutions in the world — Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University – only two hours away.