Category Archives: Music

This is why you need to do an orchestra course next summer

You might be confused. I updated my blog in June saying I was busking through Germany, and then suddenly I was on a summer course and tour with the Norwegian Youth Symphony Orchestra. I will give an update on that soon.

Tonight I’m playing with the Norwegian Youth Symphony Orchestra for the last time this year. It’s a summer course that runs every year in the end of July/beginning of August. And then as a winter course around New Years as well. I participated four years ago, but because of work the past years, I haven’t been able to attend again until this year.

Last time I came in for Mahler’s sixth symphony because they were missing string players. The administration had been calling institutions all over the country for recommendations as to who they could try to enroll. My teacher suggested that xthey give me a call.

I came in the last week of the course, fresh off my audition to the conservatory in Tromsø, but hadn’t started yet. I didn’t know anyone, and because I was called in so late, I got the music less than a week before.

Needless to say, I was scared shitless and didn’t enjoy the experience very much.

This year on the other hand, has turned into the best summer in life because of this course! I’ve played a variety of fun and challenging repertoire, toured to Berlin, Aalborg and Oslo. We have been tutored in orchestra playing by professional orchestra players, and I’ve met some truly amazing people.

The two first weeks, we played Bruckner’s fifth symphony conducted by Eliahu Inbal, the Candide suite and the Candide overture by Bernstein, as well as the suite from the movie he scored in (YEAR) On the Water Front, and the third movement of the Gershwin piano concerto, all conducted and Gershwin also played, by Wayne Marshall.

This last week we have toured with Nielsen’s third symphony, a fantastic contemporary piece by Anders Hillborg that you have to check out called Eleven Gates, and six pieces for soprano by Grieg.

This experience has given me a reason to do everything in my power to keep classical music in my life as much as possible. I have also found new inspiration to keep practicing the violin as much as possible.

When I arrived at the course I viewed this as a perfect way to kick loose.

I’m changing focus to vocals and popular music this year, and wanted to something special on the violin. However, it has proven to be so much more. This week is just another proof of how much I love classical music. I always had the intention to continue playing the violin even if I did change to vocals this year, but I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to do.

I’m so glad this course turned into such a fabulous experience. I have met some people who I’m sure will turn into great friends and contacts. I have rediscovered my love for classical music, and gained a teacher in Oslo. All in the short span of three weeks.

And this my friends, is why summer courses are so invaluable. As musicians, we need each other in order to make quality content, and the best way to meet other musicians is when you’re thrown together for a couple weeks.

If you ever have the chance to go to a summer course, don’t hesitate, just do it.

And this is where I repay my amazing Norwegian Youth Sypmhony Orchestra with some free advertising:

The Norwegian Youth Symphony Orchestra is free! No joke: All you have to do is get to Norway, and then accommodation, food, tour and tutoring is all paid for by the state. And to top it off, you can audition over Skype, so there’s no need to fly over for auditions.

Check them out at

And while you’re at it, check out this video recording from our concert in Berlin konzerthaus:

Hope to see you next summer!

11 things I wish I knew when I started my music education

My term started this Monday although I wasn’t there to see it. I just returned to Oslo after a week’s tour in Germany in Denmark with the Norwegian Youth Orchestra.

Luckily courses won’t start until Monday, so I have exactly one day after tomorrow’s concert to move in and get ready for uni.

If you, like me, live in Scandinavia, you might start term soon too, and if not, it’s still just around the corner. I just finished my bachelor’s degree in violin this Spring, so I know how it is to start a new school, and especially higher education can be scary in the beginning.

So, to celebrate starting my second bachelor, in musicology, I want to kick this autumn term off with some tips for you who are about to start a music education.

#1. Make sure to have a good relationship with your teacher

This might seem a little obvious, but I’ve known people who got off on the wrong foot with their instrumental teacher and their education really suffered from it. I’ve loved all my teachers to a fault, although I’ve liked some more than others, and it really affects the way I practice. It also affects how they treat you during the lessons too. If you get along, they will want to see you thrive.

#2. Be on good terms with the pianists

They’re not accompanists, they’re pianists. Appreciate them and respect them. They will reward you for it, I promise. When you do get new repertoire last minute, and you will,  they will be more accommodating, and if you have a recital, they’ll be more inclined to help out, if you’re nice to them.

#3. Start an ensemble

If you’re lucky, the school has this covered and you get tutoring in ensemble playing, but get one on the side anyway. Preferable at the beginning of the term. I didn’t the first two years of my bachelor, and I truly regret that. It creates a special relationship with your fellow students, as well as helps you establish yourself as one who gets stuff done.

#4. Say yes as often as you can

When I studied my first year in Iceland, I got a summer job back in my hometown in Norway that I had to get back to as soon as my final exam ended. One month before I left, a musician from kaput, the biggest group for contemporary music in Iceland contacted me and said that after working with some of them for a school project, they wanted me to play with them on their next concert. It was so exciting, but since the concert was after I left, I had to decline. They didn’t ask me again.

What can you take away from this story? Say yes. Play with as many people as you can, in as many genres as you can. You’ll get priceless experience, good contacts and not to mention again, establish yourself as one who says yes and gets stuff done.

#5. Listen to music

When you practice several hours every day, learn about music and breathe music every minute of your school day, it’s nice with some quiet time when you get home.

I’m not telling you to listen to music constantly. What I’m saying is that you should always pursue new music and discover new music every day. Check out new composers, get someone to recommend music to you. Part of your job will be to listen to music as well, so make sure you practice that too.

#6. Get out of the practice room

It’s becoming more and more of a trend to stay in the practice room all day and never doing anything else. Don’t do it. It won’t you help you as much as you think it will. Actually, it might be more damaging. Itzhak Perlman says that at the most, he practices three hours a day. Do you need to do more? Sure, that’s fine too, but make sure it’s productive.

And remember, those are your future colleagues outside your practice room. Get to know them and be social.

#7. Pay attention to your other classes

Everyone wishes they could just play all day long, but you have theory classes for a reason. It’s not like high school math- You will need the knowledge you get at university. I have already used both composing and arranging, I use aural skills and theory every day, and music history makes it quicker and easier to interpret a piece. Trust me on this; Your other classes are valuable.

#8. Get friends who aren’t musicians

In my two first years in Tromsø, all my friends were at the conservatory. Same with my first year in Reykjavik. Then girls from other courses came to live in the house I was in.

I lived with a law student, an architect, archeology student and some girls I didn’t even know properly what they were doing, but they were all interesting as hell. After three years, it was lovely to be able to talk about something other than music or music related. So much that my mother pointed out that I mentioned it in every phone conversation with her.

#9. Remember that you got in for a reason

Sometimes you will feel hopeless. Your teacher might demand more than you can perform and you feel stretched out like butter over too much bread. Take a step back and breathe. Remember that you got into the conservatory for a reason. You’re there because you’re good at what you do.

#10. Your fellow students are your future colleagues

It’s easy to get jealous if a fellow student gets attention, and in the end we are going to be applying for the same jobs. But, keep in mind that these are not your competitors, they are your colleagues. If you create a good environment, everyone will thrive on it.

Don’t be the person who gets petty when someone else gets the solo. If you do you might in the future find yourself in the need of musicians for a project you really want to make, and none who will play with you. Be friendly, always.

#11. Take time to enjoy yourself

You’re at a conservatory with people who are passionate about the same things as you are. The teachers you have are full of knowledge just waiting to become yours. Enjoy that and appreciate it. At this point you have the most time to explore and acquire new knowledge. Use the time wisely and have fun while you do it.

Be safe, have fun and remember that this when the real work begins. Enjoy it!

Touchdown in Hamburg!

My Summer adventure has officially begun! Last night I left straight from a concert in my hometown to go to the airport and one in the morning. I landed in Hamburg at 9 am this morning.

DumDum Boys

Today I will take things a little slow. I’m meeting some friends of the family later tonight to stay with them for a couple of days. Because of that, I’m currently stuck carrying my big rucksack all day.

I played for thirty minutes earlier and earned 20 euro, so I think this will be good. Hopefully I have enough for a knew bus ticket soon. As for now, I’m going to enjoy the sunshine and the warm weather. Later I’ll have a look at what exciting things you can do in Hamburg.


Busking in Hamburg

The rules for busking in Hamburg are very extensive, but the City Council of Hamburg has issued a document with all the rules written in English. You can find it here.

Basically, you can’t play with amplifiers or loud instruments like drums or trumpet unless you apply in advance. You have to move at least 150 meters every half hour, and playing between 9 pm and 10 am is strictly forbidden
Reasonable demands if you ask me. It ensures that the music being played is pleasant to listen to and is not bothersome to people who live and work in the area.

I’ve been to Hamburg a couple of times before because we have friends in the area. It’s nice to start off somewhere I can stay with friends. From here though, I plan to exclusively go to places where I’ve never been before. The whole point of this adventure is to discover new places that might become new favorites.

Have you ever busked before? If so, let me know your experiences in the comments down below.

New repertoire

I got my grades back on my thesis and graduation concert yesterday. B on both, so I’m really happy about it. Getting my results though, really highlights the fact that I am completely, one hundred percent done with my bachelor. Which is scary!

Not only because the future is uncertain, but I suddenly find myself without a teacher for the first time ever since I started on the violin. I’m not sure if I’m ready to take over as my own teacher yet.

But, I try. Already last month I began to look into how I could best prepare myself to be on my own. (Although I will be looking for a teacher next year as soon as I settle) The first thing I realised, was that I need to keep myself busy.

While with my teacher in Iceland, she taught me a lot about how to build a repertoire to keep me on my toes, ensure a sense of achievement and make sure that I utilize every technique that I learn. With this in mind, I have chosen the following repertoire for the Summer and Autumn:

Violin Concerto in A minor by Antonin Dvorak
Violin Sonata in F major by Edvard Grieg
Poem by Zdenek Fibich
Chaconne from Partita in D minor By Johann Sebastian Bach
Violin Concerto in A major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In addition to this, I’m attending a youth orchestra course this Summer, where we are playing:

Ouverture to Elverum by Johannes Rusten
Symphony no. 5 i B flat major by Anton Bruckner
Eleven Gates by Anders Hillbor
Solveig’s song (from op. 23)
Spring (from op. 33)
By Rondane (from op. 33)
A Swan (op. 25, no. 2)
Zur Rosenzeit (op. 48, no. 5)
Ein Traum (op. 48, no. 6)
– All by Edvard Grieg
Symphony no. 3, op. 27  by Carl Nielsen

It’s a big and challenging program, but I’m really excited about it. Some of it is very challenging, like the symphony by Nielsen. While something, like Poem by Fibich, is a small side project for fun because I  absolutely adore that piece.

I chose the Grieg Sonata because I learned the G major this year, and I decided that I wanted to learn all of them. And then, it’s always good to have something by Bach, and I have learned the entire D minor partita except for the chaconne.

The two concertos that I chose is mainly to prepare for auditions in the future, but they are also (especially the Dvorak) my absolute favourite concertos for the violin. I already started on the Dvorak a little bit before my exam just to occasionally give myself something else to do.

That is my program for the coming months. Hopefully you learned something about how to build a repertoire from seeing this. If you have any questions, you can always write them in the comments and I’ll answer them to the best of my abilities.