Welcome back to the last Graduate Interview for 2019! This week, we're headed up North to the Royal Northern College of Music to join Heather MacLeod; violinist, co-founder of the award winning Dahlia Music and 2017 RNCM graduate. I caught up with Heather to find out how she found her first year in the big wide world and to get her advice on what it takes to build your own business as a working musician.
How did you find the adjustment from college life to being a graduate?
I graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with a Master of Music with Distinction in the Summer of 2017. The transition from student to graduate happened without me really being aware! I had a busy summer with work and then the realisation of not going back to college started to sink in. Luckily I was quite busy during the initial transition but soon after I did take the time to reflect on my time at college and make plans for the future.
What was the inspiration behind Dahlia Music?
Kirsty and I had always spoken about starting our own ensemble and we came to the conclusion that there was no time like the present! We both enjoy a challenge and by taking our interest in business and customer service we created Dahlia Music.
Can you describe what Dahlia Music is and what you do?
Dahlia Music provides String Ensembles for Concerts, Weddings, Corporate and Private Events. We have a wide range of music our clients can choose from to make their event extra special! I play either the violin or viola at the events as well as carrying out some administrative duties.
I took the time to reflect on my time at college and make plans for the future
What does a typical day for you consist of?
Good question! Every day is different whether it’s working with orchestras, solo artists, bands, theatre shows, in recording studios, at events or teaching. On my more free days I like to exercise, catch up on any admin/practice and then head off to work or spend the evening cooking and chilling!
I was brought up playing Traditional Scottish music and I still have a real love for playing and arranging it. I think that this influence comes from my family roots in the Highlands and Isle of Skye which I have a great interest in finding out more about.
Were there any challenges you had to face?
As a freelance musician I feel we are faced with many challenges through the different lines of work that we do. Personally my biggest challenge so far since graduating from college is knowing what you want and creating your own unique path to getting there, and for some of us this takes time.
What if your top tip for the people facing their first year out of education?
Find a hobby! I think it is important to give yourself some space and time away from your instrument to keep your ideas and mind fresh.
Have you got an event coming up and need a quartet? Why don't you take a wander over to their website to find out more. In the meantime you can keep up with their work via their social media platforms!
Thank you so much for sharing with us Heather! See you in the New Year for our next Graduate Interview!
Merry Christmas x