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Behind the Mouthpiece: Emily Mitchell shares advice for aspiring trumpeters

Every musician navigates a journey filled with trials, tribulations, fortunate twists, and relentless dedication. Join us weekly as we delve behind the mouthpiece, unveiling the rich experiences and invaluable lessons that have shaped each of our artists' paths.

This week we meet trumpet virtuoso Emily Mitchell who shares some advice for aspiring trumpeters.

"Can you share a little about your initial musical beginnings? Where did you first start learning your instrument, and were there any key institutions or individuals that inspired you?"

I began learning the cornet at the age of 8 but shortly after lost both of my front teeth. I wasn’t brought up in brass bands, I just had to play the cornet because I was too small to hold the trumpet up.

I later joined Harrow Young Musicians which was the most important aspect of my early trumpet development. At HYM I played in the Concert Band, Philharmonic Orchestra and Soul Band, which took me on my first tours of Belgium, France and Italy.

When I was 16 someone recommended auditioning for a junior department, so I auditioned for the Junior Royal Academy of Music and was awarded a place. I studied there on Saturday mornings for 2 years with David Price and Steve Wick.

"Tell us about your formal education in music. Which institutions did you attend and what were the significant milestones during your studies?"

  • Royal Academy of Music 2017-19, MA Distinction with DipRAM for final recital

  • Royal Academy of Music 2013-17, BMus (Hons) 1st Class

  • FRAM, Chamber Fellowship 2018-19 as member of London Metropolitan Brass

  • LRAM Teaching Diploma, Distinction

I studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Mark David, Paul Beniston, Robert Farley, Will O’Sullivan, Rod Franks, and John Hutchins. I later applied to continue my studies into a postgraduate degree and received a scholarship. I was successful in auditions for several other postgraduate awards and scholarships such as Universal Music UK - Sound Foundation Scholarship, Countess of Munster Award, Help Musicians UK - Ian Fleming Award, and Winifred Agnes Disney Award.

During my time at RAM I completed the LRAM teaching diploma with Distinction, and became an FRAM with the Chamber Fellowship 2018-19 as member of London Metropolitan Brass. I was awarded a DipRAM for my final postgraduate recital.

"Please list the orchestras, bands, or ensembles you've been a part of, along with the years of your association and any significant roles or positions you held."

  • BBC Philharmonic - Associate Principal trial (Nov 19 - present)

  • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - Principal trial (Jan 22 - present)

  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra - Second trial (2023)

  • BBC National Orchestra of Wales - Principal Trumpet No.3 trial (2022 - 23)

  • BBC Symphony Orchestra

  • Philharmonia Orchestra

  • London Philharmonic Orchestra

  • English National Opera

  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra

  • BBC Concert Orchestra

  • Ulster Orchestra

  • Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields

  • Britten Sinfonia

  • London Mozart Players

Orchestral Training

  • Glyndebourne ‘Pit Perfect’ scheme 2019

  • Philharmonia - MMSF Brass Fellowship 2018/19

  • Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme Orchestral Course 2018

  • London Sinfonietta Academy 2017

  • Endelion Opera Festival 2017

  • Dublin Brass Week 2017

  • London Symphony Orchestra Brass Academy 2016

Chamber Music

  • London Metropolitan Brass (founding member and organiser)

  • Onyx Brass

  • Bella Tromba

Natural Trumpet

  • Glyndebourne Touring Opera

  • Orchestra of The Sixteen

  • Vox Luminis - Utrecht Early Music Festival 2018

  • Royal Academy of Music Bach Cantatas Series 2016-18

"Reflecting on your musical journey, can you mention some of the most notable projects, recordings, or performances you've been a part of? Any collaborations or pieces that you’re particularly proud of?"

  • Philip Jones International Brass Competition 2019 - 3rd place as member of London Metropolitan Brass

  • John Solomon Brass Prize - Commended 2017 and 2018

  • Dublin Brass Week Concert Competition - Winner 2017

  • Worshipful Company of Musicians Brass Ensembles Prize 2017 - Winner as member of London Metropolitan Brass

  • Springboard Festival Concerto Competition - Under 19s Winner 2015

  • King's College London Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition - Winner 2014

One of my orchestral highlights would be playing principal trumpet with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to a sold out Royal Albert Hall for the Classic FM live concert in 2023. A chamber music highlight would be reaching the finals of the fiercely competitive Philip Jones International Brass Competition with my brass quintet London Metropolitan Brass. As a soloist my best experience would be winning the King's College London Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, meaning that I was invited to tour to 3 different countries performing the Arutiuniun Concerto with their orchestra.

"How did you first come to know about London Fanfare Trumpets?"

Through joining the Band of The Royal Yeomanry I met the founder Tom who introduced me to LFT.

"Of all the events you've performed at with London Fanfare Trumpets, which one stands out the most to you and why?"

The first would be playing fanfares on the steps of a manor house in Cheshire for a private birthday party, whilst fire dancers blew fire in front of us to welcome the guests to the event. The next would be opening the LIV golf tournament on live TV and being on the teeing ground whilst the stars of golf made their first tees of the tournament.

"Over the years, have you taken up any teaching roles? Please list the institutions and the years you've been associated with them. Also, any other roles you've played in the educational realm of music?"

I am Head of Brass at Queen’s College London which is an all-girls school in Marylebone. I started at QCL with one student and over the last 6 years have built a 50-strong brass department made up of every brass instrument and initiated 4 different brass ensembles. We travel annually on tours across the world, have a partnership with the Guildhall School of Music and have performed at venues such as Regent Hall on Oxford Street.

Outside of that I have taken part in outreach schemes with different orchestras and organisations such as the Philharmonia’s ‘Orchestra Unwrapped’ outreach project, The Dionysus Ensemble, The Musician’s Company Yeoman, and Onyx Brass.

"How has London Fanfare Trumpets played a role in your professional development, both in terms of your growth as a musician and the valuable connections or collaborations you've formed? Are there specific experiences or relationships that stand out as pivotal in your journey?"

I have met many amazing musicians through LFT who have huge amounts of experience in both military and professional freelance worlds. The networking is invaluable and I am often asked to dep for other LFT colleagues for their professional work. I am looking forward to all the new projects in the pipeline as LFT continues to expand and evolve.

"Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to aspiring musicians looking to build a successful career?"

My advice is to work extremely hard if you want to make it into professional music. It shouldn’t feel like hard work if you truly love playing your instrument, so use all the hours you have to practice and expand your technical and musical knowledge. My second bit of advice would be that sound always has to come first, it is the core of who you are as a player and it is the most valuable thing you can bring to your audience.

Here is a video of Emily performing with the Royal Yeomanry Band Brass Quintet

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