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Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School Horncastle

Celebrating Sixth Form Life – By Leah Ward (U6)

I picked up the clarinet at 10 years old with the Cyprus Music Service, and at the time I considered it a fun hobby. I enjoyed playing in ensembles and was a member of the St John's brass band in Episkopi, and with the music service took my grade 2 and grade 3 exams. However, moving to a new school took away my motivation to learn and perform.  This, mixed with the Covid-19 pandemic and a six month break from weekly music lessons seemed to be my final straw; I was ready to quit. My motivation to continue was non-existent, until one evening in the summer of 2020, my dad and I took a bike ride down to the RAF base and sat on a bench by the hangars, where he told me about the RAF band, a career path I had never considered before. It was a turning point for me, and the first thing I said to my music teacher when returning to school was that I was going to join the band, no matter how hard I needed to work.

Since then, my determination hasn't once faltered. The best decision I made was to join the Lincolnshire Youth Wind Orchestra in order to gain experience, where I began as a third clarinet, and have since moved up to first clarinet. Our conductor became my teacher at the beginning of year 12, and thanks to him I have progressed through 3 grades in the space of 18 months. Finally, after a six-year break from music exams (having not taken one since my grade 3) I took my grade 8 exam and passed with a Merit, and have since begun my application into the RAF band.