17th January 2020

5) What advice would you give to a young musician considering early keyboard instruments?

The first thing I will say here is that I think ALL young pianists should have some exposure to early pianos!! For all the reasons I've stated above in this 'interview' I think it is vital that young artists - regardless of whether they wish to have a performing career using early keyboard instruments - really hear and understand what music of each period sounds like on the instruments being built at the time the music was written.

I contend that I have practiced what I preach in this area!! A couple of years after we met, Katrina and I put together a plan for the young pianists who were studying with me at the Settlement Music School. As a result the first of 9 visits of sometimes as many as 5 young people at one time came across to Finchcocks with me to spend a 10 day to 2 week residency at Finchcocks learning about early instruments and playing and performing on them! It was a magical time and it absolutely encouraged me to continue the program! I was also assisted by Settlement Music School and by the Finchcocks Charity and that is how just a few years ago we celebrated the 9th 'group' to make the trip, focusing on the Clementi Award. The Award that year had been given to two of my students - young women who had studied with me for a number of years and were quite exceptional!

They each did a one-hour presentation after 10 days of hard work on the pianos, choosing 4 pianos each to talk about and to play - illustrating what they had learned about each instrument! They were awarded framed certificates by Christopher Clementi, and David Ward of the Royal College of Music kindly adjudicated the presentations. Very positively, I can say with pride! These trips never ceased to make an indelible impression on these wonderful young people...and to this day, they continue to talk about their experiences and to respect and use what they learned.

In conclusion, I continue to be grateful to the Burnetts and to the Finchcocks Charity for making these trips possible! And so many thanks (in teaching my students about these pianos and the music written for them!) for helping me to combine learning about pianos with learning about a different country - not too different from our own but yet again....quite different! You know what I mean... pounds instead of dollars...cream teas in the late afternoon...amazingly skillful bell ringing in church towers all over England on Sundays...and on and on! :-) And then - those wonderful pianos!!

It was and is magic... (at the beginning and in every subsequent visit)!

Sandra Carlock

If you want to find out more in the meantime, please look at her website: