It's now less than a week until the start of the 2020 Annual Music Competition Section Finals! Each week from 11 February, exceptionally talented young musicians taking to the stage of the Princess Alexandria Hall to compete for a place in the Gold Medal Final. As final preparations get underway for our soloists, we ask previous winners how they dealt with the nerves and what advice they have for this year's entrants. 

Saxophonist Huw Wiggins, who won the Gold Medal in 2014, says: "I think that every performer has ways of dealing with pressure and nerves. Personally, I have breathing exercises which I use and I try to remain in the green room as much as I can with little distraction before the performance. There always seems to be a 'buzz' backstage but try and remain focussed. I always find that when I am onstage all my nerves disappear and I just go for it and enjoy it! 

"It can be quite daunting because there are so many judges. Having been on panels since the competition I now know that as judges we are so excited to hear the performances and really want the performers to do well! It's an amazing experience sat on the other side and seeing/hearing many musicians share their love and passion for music with the audience.

"The pressure can be quite overwhelming but try to enjoy the occasion the best you can!" 

Emily Sun, Gold Medal winner in 2016, speaks of the family that you will become a part of by having competed in the Annual Music Competition: "After all the meticulous practise at home, give it your all in the performance! You’re all winners already and it’s a huge achievement to perform in the competition already, so enjoy yourself! 

Ashley Fripp, winner of the Piano Section in 2011, agrees: "My advice to this year's entrants is to simply enjoy yourself and savour the opportunity to share what you have to say with a new public. You are already new additions to the ROSL family and the section final should be seen as a gala celebration of not only all you have achieved, but all that is to come. Congratulations!"

The performance opportunities and new connections that spring from this competition is something that ROSL is very proud of, and each of this year's section finalists will have the opportunity to become part of that 'ROSL family' as Ashley puts it, should they win their section. 

Be the first to hear from this year's section finalists, in what we hope will become a long and fruitful relationship between ROSL and each winner. Book your tickets for the 2020 AMC here.

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