I found the Young Trad 2016 both exciting and daunting. I was excited to be involved in such a pretigious event but was very nervous, hoping I would play well and be able to engage with the audience. One of the main things I learnt from the experience was to follow my instincts and not over think, especially when it comes to choosing tunes. I found it very difficult to know what to play although eventually decided just to play things that I like and try to present them to the audience. This way, there will always be people who don’t like what you do; but I think being true to yourself is a much better way to go. I started the fiddle because I wanted to play, not because I wanted to impress anyone. Everyone has different musical tastes, but I think the people who do like what you do will appreciate it so much more if it’s honest.
I hadn’t been very well leading up to the final and was struggling with migraines and sinusitis. I was really struggling to hear for a while. One of the best lessons I learnt came from working with the accompanists, Mhairi Hall and Mike Bryan. They reinforced that feeling music is just as important as hearing it; I focused on trying to feel the music and tried not to worry about what I could and couldn’t hear. I will think about this whenever I play from now on. Instead of striving to do anything particular in a performance, I think letting what happens, happen will ultimately produce more of an emotional impact; and will create a much more honest, in the moment performance… This is what I would be striving for!