In the second of our Study Abroad series we caught up with Mark Loveday about his four months in Norway.
Mark, a postgraduate violinist, spent 2019’s Autumn term in Oslo at the Norwegian Academy of Music, which he described as, “an experience I never really pictured or imagined myself doing”.
How did your placement come about?
“The process started back in January 2019 after meeting with Head of Postgraduate Programmes Zoe Smith.
“I didn’t think going abroad was for me, but after the meeting I quite liked the idea of a fresh start, studying somewhere different, and a change of culture and lifestyle.
“Before I knew it, after a successful audition, I was off to a country I’d never visited before for four months!”
Where were you based?
“I spent the majority of my time at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo sharing a campus flat, which was mind-blowing.
“The Academy had a big focus on mental and physical well-being outside of learning, including quiet ‘reflective’ spaces.
“These small adjustments to my lifestyle emphasised the importance of taking care of yourself.”
Who did you meet out there?
“I met two excellent teachers, who I learnt a great deal from and are now international contacts.
“Elise Båtnes, principal of Oslo Philharmonic, was not only inspiring through her playing and teaching but her positive words encouraged me to perform on stage with confidence.
“Soloist and teacher Peter Herresthal taught me the importance of performance. We worked on my posture and a number of technical challenges. He positively altered my playing and practical technique considerably.”
Tell us about what you got up to…
“There were so many playing opportunities!
“At the Academy I performed with the Norwegian Academy of Music’s Symphony Orchestra twice, which were Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe and Stravinsky’s Firebird, followed by Sibelius Symphony 1 and Nielsen Clarinet Concerto with soloist Björn Nyman.
“I also auditioned for the Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger orchestras and saw concerts around Oslo.”
What did you learn?
“The Norwegian language course I took helped with day-to-day life as I was able to understand more of the language.
“Crucially, it helped me to understand the numbers system, which was very useful for when the conductor wanted me to go from a specific bar in rehearsal!”
Overall, how was your placement in Oslo?
“The experience absolutely exceeded my expectations in every single way possible.
“My Erasmus friends and I would go for long hikes on weekends. We walked through the snowy woods of Drammen for three hours up to a cabin where we played Norwegian Monopoly and drank cocoa by the log fire.
“It heightened my knowledge of Norway and undoubtedly my confidence as a musician and a person.
“I felt enriched through my new knowledge of different cultures and its made me want to travel more.”