Reflections from Queensland

Words by
Amanda Pang (QLD) piano

My first year at ANAM in 2019 was a whirlwind of exciting projects, performances and opportunities so I was keen and full of expectation for what my second year would be. It was early March and I was eagerly preparing for the Brunch with Beethoven concert and an upcoming performance at Beleura. A few days later, I was on a plane heading back home to Brisbane.


As the following weeks unfolded, I gradually came to terms with ANAM’s new online format. This included weekly webinars, instrument sectional classes, individual lessons, performance class and a fortnightly Fridays at 3. I was initially quite doubtful of how things would work online. However, these doubts were swiftly thwarted. In fact, I was very much inspired and spurred on by the proactiveness of the ANAM Faculty, staff and musicians – one example being my teacher Tim Young. Upon the news of moving online, he promptly created a nifty camera/mic setup in his studio. This enabled multiple angles of the keyboard to ensure the best possible delivery of our individual piano lessons.

ANAM’s online program also granted the possibility for a host of musicians and guests from around the globe to speak with us weekly. These seminars have been so valuable as I have been able to gain insights into various musicians’ approaches to performing, practising, conducting and their philosophy on music and its relationship with the current society.

Unfortunately, being online has also entailed dealing with temperamental internet connections. For this reason, performance class usually requires most of the ANAM musicians to do recordings rather than play live. Over the months, I have tried to improve my mindset and approach to recording as I do not really enjoy the process of it. When making recordings there is no one to play for so it is difficult to generate the spark of energy and spirit that I get when sharing music with a listener. I also find it hard to stop myself falling into the vicious never-ending cycle of trying to get a better take. Thankfully, performance class is such a positive and supportive environment that there really is nothing to worry about. We also make use of the Zoom chat box so that we can receive typed encouragement even if the applause cannot be heard.

One of the highlights of my online ANAM experience has been the fortnightly Fridays at 3. It is a casual performance setting where musicians and Faculty can share music, art, and all things fun. I always feel so lucky to be in a community of multi-talented, creative, witty and humorous people.

At the moment, I am still at home in Queensland. Recently, I got together with some other ANAM musicians in Brisbane to play some chamber music. I am working on Brahms’ Horn Trio with Tim Allen-Ankins (horn) and Claire Weatherhead (violin) and Nino Rota’s Trio with Lilly Yang (flute) and Claire. We are all so stoked to be playing with each other having been deprived of chamber music for the last few months. There really is nothing quite like the magic of making music together!

– Article orignally published in ANAM's Music Makers vol 37

Photo by Pia Johnson

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