A force of nature

By Nicole Wilson  -  17 February 2019

10 years ago I interviewed Nicola Benedetti at The Yehudi Menuhin School for an ESTA conference, and was impressed by her thoughtful and intelligent attitude to learning. So many people feel that when someone wins a competition like BBC Young Musician of the Year, their work is done, their career is launched and they can just sit back and enjoy it. Nicola impressed me with her vision that this was just a small part of her journey and she understood on a level well beyond her years at the time, that she was on a lifelong learning journey. 

She talked to me about the musicians and music teachers in her life who she relied upon to help her to become a greater musician and how they had changed the  way she thought and worked.

I’m thrilled to see, 10 years later that she has become an incredible force for good in the string teaching world, through her work with the UK’s best organisations including Sistema Scotland and the National Children's Orchestras. We see her inspiring children of every level to love music and achieve great things themselves through perseverance and hard work. But she also reaches out to string teachers, understanding that the best way for us to pass on our love of music to the next generation is to build a strong network of string teachers who have the support and guidance needed to help them in their work. 

As well as working with over 2000 students and 500 teachers in the last 12 months alone, she has now launched the Benedetti Foundation which aims to support music teachers and expand her commitment to the musical education of young people. She’s seen herself through all her educational activities, the transformative effect music can have on children and with the subject being dropped left, right and centre in schools, the Benedetti Foundation has arrived in the nick of time. We’re told time and again of the benefit of learning music for a child’s brain but remember also the benefits of music to the soul and to the social life of a child. Realising that life is not just about academia, but about feelings, co-operation and dedication, is a lesson which is hard to teach in a classroom environment but so very natural in a musical situation.

The Benedetti Foundation has launched with a series of videos ‘With Nicky’ which she hopes will add to her work with the thousands of children and teachers she works with in her workshops and classes. Each video focusses on different topics including:

  • Back to Basics 
  • Develop your Sound 
  • Vibrato 
  • Talking about Thumbs 
  • Practice 
  • Motivations and Inspirations 
  • Investigating Intonation

They’re a great resource for all teachers and students to be able to dip in an out of and find inspiration and reassurance. 

I look forward to watching the Benedetti Foundation grow and hopefully be part of the solution which saves music education in our country.

About Nicole Wilson

Principal freelance violinist in London, ex London Symphony Orchestra and English National Opera, Nicole is also a CD producer, TV/Radio presenter and founder of Musical Orbit.

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