11th November 2010 | Concerts, Daily Life, Musings | 2 comments

I was teaching at the Guildhall today. All the students were excellent – that didn’t surprise me, because I know what a high standard there is at London’s big music colleges these days. Not one of my students was British – that didn’t surprise me either. What did surprise me was how beautifully they were all dressed, especially considering that it was only 10 o’clock in the morning. All the participants had dressed up for the class, the men in suits or crisp shirts and trousers, the women in elegant outfits with high-heeled shoes.

When I was a music student we did not dress up like this, and in fact I didn’t own any such items of clothing. Student life didn’t call for anything tailored. Today, though, it’s almost as if music students treat their conservatoire years as urgent preparation for life in the real world of professional concert-giving. In a way it’s undeniably impressive, and shows how switched on they and their teachers are to the fact that professional life is just around the corner, and yet it also made me feel a bit sad. Don’t they realise this is their last chance to wear baggy jumpers?


  1. peter

    I always had difficulty playing the piano or violin wearing a jacket, and I don’t know how professional pianists and violinists cope with the constraints on their movements that jackets occasion.

  2. Susan Tomes

    My first piano teacher used to say that you should never wear new clothes for a concert without trying them out first in a ‘house concert’. It’s true: concert clothes, both for men and women, are often of stiffer and more formal material, or they’re cut differently, and they certainly can affect how you move. It’s not nice to be taken by surprise by that in a performance.


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