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During lockdown we've been catching up with some of the alumni from our education courses taught in partnership with Shetland College UHI to talk about their experience as a student and see what they're up to now! We spoke to Zdenka Mlynárikov who studied on our NC and HNC Music courses and is currently in her 2nd year of studying for her BA in Applied Music with us.

What first drew you to study at Mareel?

I first heard about the music courses at Mareel at one of the Singer-Songwriter nights at Fjara from Carol Jamieson, who is one of the tutors. We started talking and the course seemed to be just what I was looking for. I always loved playing music but it wasn’t until I moved to Shetland that I started performing in public and taking my hobby a bit more seriously.

What are you up to these days?

Mostly trying to balance being a mum of a 4 year old, working and still finishing last bits and pieces for my BA Applied Music course. And enjoying the occasional moments of good weather of course! I have also been working on some new music, experimenting with virtual instruments, as well as getting back to the instrument where my love for music started- the piano.

Is there one bit of knowledge you gained from your time with us that you'll always remember?

It’s difficult to only pick one, I think it’s the overall experience, the combination of being able to study in a professional environment, work on projects with other students and have tutors that are always supportive and are working or have worked within the music industry themselves.

What advice would you give to young people looking to start their careers in music?

Take every opportunity to perform and develop your skills. Singer-songwriter and Open Mic nights are a good start, everyone is always friendly and supportive. The music courses are great for pointing the career in the right direction.

When you're not making music, who are you listening to right now?

My playlist usually consists of a good mixture - I like exploring new sounds as much as browsing through the old records. I have been really enjoying the music of Scottish singer songwriter Karine Polwart recently, I think folk music in her interpretation sounds fresh and contemporary, without losing the traditional feel.

If you're interested in finding out more about our education courses, there are still full and part-time places and funding available for September, more information is available here.

Photo credit: Chris Coles

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