With the intake of new trainees each year, it can be difficult to choose the best, who really has it and who doesn’t?  I used to have a point grading system, where I and the team applied scores to various attributes and characteristics. However, last Saturday, I was privileged to sit in on the auditions of sixteen young musicians, they were competing for a place in the final of a national competition.  The standard was so high, that in any other year, probably any one of them could have been chosen.  So, with only five going through, I thought the selection process was going to be very tough.

We watched the young musicians enter stage left, we listened to them play. We asked questions and concentrated intensely on their answers.  Our chairman advised us to go with our gut feelings: are they ‘in’ or are they ‘out’? Just one word next to their name, the five with the most ‘in’s’ go through, the rest carry on with their lives and do the best they can in the circumstances. Life can be tough.

The surprising result was that, despite the diversity of the jury and the anonymity of the voting, five very clear winners emerged. Five lucky ones who will receive something they are not given in the conservatoires and academies; a preparation for life as a solo musician.  International notoriety, bursaries to attend summer schools and festivals. Lessons in communication and contract negotiation; marketing support, financial management, concert tours, CD contracts and promotional videos. Everything they need to set them on their way.

And today, as I sit and write the ending to this blog I wonder what happens to those that never quite make it? I can only imagine that many escape from something that probably was never meant to be anyway.  As a good friend of mine once said “every disappointment is for some good”.  I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I certainly do today.

Have a good week,


For those curious to know more, the competition was for the charity ‘Young Belgian Talent’. www.ybt.be