Jane Burnell

"This is your time to make mistakes and learn from them, so don't see mistakes as a bad thing, see them as a necessity to improve!"

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Jane Burnell

Jane Burnell - BA (Hons) Music (Classical)

Jane Burnell is a third year singer on the BA (Hons) Music (Classical) course, who also runs and conducts the LCSU Opera Society.

Jane has made the most of the pandemic, using lockdowns as an opportunity to hone in on thorough technical practice and development.

What has been the most important thing you've learned at Leeds Conservatoire?

That you get back what you put in! There are always opportunities to be found if you actively seek them and voice your enthusiasm to gain the experience you're after. And this is also relevant to your 1-1 lessons, if your teacher sees you giving it 110%, they will give exactly the same back.

What are you planning on doing after graduation?

In terms of further study, I have accepted a place at the RNCM to study a Master of Performance degree there after finishing at Leeds Conservatoire.

Is there anything you've encountered over the last few years that has really made you push yourself as a musician or anything new that you had not tried before?

My singing teacher has made me push myself a lot throughout my time at Leeds Conservatoire. She has always encouraged me to go for the career I want with the understanding that this comes with hard work!
Also, studying for my final year throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic has really pushed me to keep working hard despite times when motivation is low. I have tried to see it as gifted time to really hone in on technique.

In terms of something new, conducting was relatively new to me and it is something I have really grown an affiliation for. I have found it extremely useful gaining a better knowledge and experience of conducting and it definitely continues to improve my musicianship and make me a better musician to work with.

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Jane Burnell

What is the best piece of advice you've been given at Leeds Conservatoire?

The best piece of advice I have ever received is to always trust myself when making decisions about my singing. As singers, our instrument is literally a part of us, and not even our teacher can know what is happening inside our bodies! I have always been advised to have 1-2 people you trust (ie your teacher and a coach) for advice and guidance, but after that just go with what your body is telling you.

What has been the best project / opportunity you've had during your degree?

There are two that stand out for me:

1. The "Romeo and Her Juliet" Opera Project in March 2020 was one of the best projects I have worked on in Leeds. Everything about the whole process was just brilliant. We had the chance to work alongside a professional director and conductor, as well as the Director of Music at Opera North. The music was also incredibly manageable, so we were able to really have fun with the acting side of things as well.

2. Running and Conducting the SU Opera Society for 2020-2021. Despite doing this during the pandemic, I have gained so many new experiences from this that will stay with me for a long time and perhaps even influence some of my later career aspirations.

What has been the biggest challenge and how has this helped you develop?

Navigating my final year during the pandemic. In particular, the lack of in person lesson time with my teacher. For singing, it is so difficult to really progress technically when you are not in the same room as your teacher as you cannot "feel" what they are demonstrating. However, I feel I have really had to adapt to online learning and after a while I have begun to notice progress happening again.
The pandemic has also allowed me to develop my technological skills from having to produce regular recordings of myself, which in fact I have already been able to use for various external auditions.

What is your favourite Leeds Conservatoire Memory?

My favourite Leeds Conservatoire memory would definitely be the actual performances of "Romeo and Her Juliet". The cast really came together to produce some brilliant music and theatre and it is always great fun to sing with an orchestra.

What advice would you give to others thinking of applying to your course at Leeds Conservatoire?

I would advise others thinking of applying for the vocal degree to be prepared to be proactive in seeking out performance opportunities. I would also advise others to prioritise finding the right teacher for them, as it is the most important relationship you will have throughout your degree at the conservatoire. And lastly, to come prepared to make mistakes! This is your time to make mistakes and learn from them, so don't see mistakes as a bad thing, see them as a necessity to improve!

How would you describe your experience at Leeds Conservatoire in three words?

Rewarding, unique, safe

Visit Jane's website, or follow her on Instagram

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