Student Stories

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At Berkshire Maestros, what matters most to us is our students. Every one of them is special, and they all have their own unique musical journey, and their own story to tell. Here are just a few of them.


Charlie’s love of music was taken to another level when he watched School of Rock at five years old

Mini Maestros and beyond!

Charlie’s first experience of Berkshire Maestros was a weekly Mini Maestros class, together with free choir membership. He loved singing, dancing, and playing instruments and soon progressed to piano lessons. His enthusiasm for practising has paid off and he’s progressing well (although his mum won’t let him take up the drums quite yet!)

“I love music. I like playing piano and singing because it’s fun. I love the music in the Trolls movie and The Greatest Showman.”

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A clear progression path

Charlie has now moved up to a higher level choir, and has begun learning to play the guitar too. There’s just no stopping him!

Calvin and Emily

A visit to an Open Day at Berkshire Maestros ignited a passion for music and amazing story of what can be achieved with practice!

Learning together

As siblings, Calvin and Emily were able to enjoy their violin and piano lessons together and joined a music centre choir, on the advice of staff they met at the Open Evening. Their progression has been astounding, and the level of practice they have committed to has definitely paid off. They are members of several music groups, including the prestigious Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra

Calvin – “The teachers at Maestros are great and a huge inspiration.” Emily – “I really enjoy ensembles at the music centre as it is so much fun learning and making music with friends. It is the highlight of the week!”

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Grade 8 and beyond!

Calvin and Emily have both passed Grade 8 on violin and piano isn’t far behind. With such a strong work ethic, their future possibilities look really bright, and a career in music is definitely an option for either of them


Reuben proved that small can indeed be mighty when he decided to take on the bassoon!

Small but mighty!

Reuben didn’t want to follow the crowd so he chose to play the bassoon at eight years old. Luckily bassoons come in all different sizes – and Reuben has now moved up from the mini version to a short reach bassoon (which is still taller than him!)

“I thought learning the bassoon would be really difficult because there are nine keys for one thumb! But I can do it now and it's fun. I love being the bass line in bands.”

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Friday night is music night

Reuben loved music lessons so much that he now also plays recorder, piano and drums. Friday night is music night in Reuben’s house as he plays in two Friday music centre ensembles, including one with his brother


National Open Youth Orchestra member Oscar is a star percussionist

Challenges will not hold him back

Oscar discovered his passion for music at the age of seven. With the support of his Maestros teacher Luke, his mum and his school, he became an accomplished percussionist and pianist. He feels that music is one thing that makes him feel free from the challenges that his autism can bring.

"I enjoy all the things I do with the Berkshire Maestros."

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National orchestra success

In 2018, Oscar joined the National Open Youth Orchestra. He has since performed at the Barbican. Now aged 17, he is enthusiastically working towards Grade 7 on percussion and he plans to go to music college.


New friends, confidence and lots of fun have been bonuses of Robert’s musical journey

Off to a flying start!

Robert was inspired to take up the trombone when he watched his friends performing in a school concert. He practised hard, and played in his first concert just a few weeks later. Many more concerts have followed as he became more skilled and grew in confidence.

“One of my fondest musical memories will be playing in front of the Eiffel Tower on a music tour.”

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Great friends

Playing an instrument and being part of ensembles has enabled him to make some great friends. It has also improved his confidence in performing, and has given him some wonderful experiences that he will treasure for life.


Playing music can make a fantastic career – Rachel feels lucky to do what she loves every day

A variety of instruments

Rachel’s love of the flute began at nine years old and quickly expanded into also learning piano, clarinet and saxophone. She progressed through ensembles to the county youth orchestra. Performing with our ensembles not only improved her musicianship, but also played a key role in her personal development.

“From when I first picked up an instrument, music has inspired me, challenged me and rewarded me. I’m so grateful that I have been able to make a career out of doing something I love.”

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From Berkshire Maestros to the RAF

Rachel’s experiences at Berkshire Maestros led her to study at Birmingham Conservatoire. She is now a musician with the RAF and has travelled the world, playing music at some incredible venues. She still takes moments to appreciate how fortunate she is to have turned her childhood hobby into an amazing career.


Growing her love of music from Berkshire Maestros to being Wellington Scholar and achieving her diploma.

Mini Maestros and beyond:

15-year-old Malaysian born Yi-Ann started Mini Maestros when she was 3 and cello lessons under Judith Barnby when she was 4. She continued these alongside piano and voice, through attending multiple ensembles under Berkshire Maestros: Sunday Academy, Correlli Strings, Cellissimo, Berkshire Young Voices and the Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra. Her love for music grew from there, where through Berkshire Maestros she explored and developed various musical skills. She states that her love for music is centralised around its calming and grounding effect upon her.
She has shared this, by entertaining residents in local care homes with her cello playing alongside fundraising for charities such as the West Berkshire Homeless. She said the reactions from the different residents has always been very heart warming.

“I’m so grateful for Maestros, I wouldn’t have all the opportunities I’ve been given otherwise, like making it through into the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain for the past few years, a masterclass with the Two Cellos at the Royal Albert Hall.”

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From Berkshire Maestros to performing as a cello soloist

Being a music scholar at Wellington College Yi-Ann is currently studying cello under Lorraine Deacon. Last year, she achieved a distinction in her ARSM diploma (cello). Some of her successes in music competitions includes becoming the overall winner of the prestigious Montgomery Prize, the LVS Ascot Music Festival, and the Wantage Music Festival.

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