Work Experience with Shaily

My name is Shaily and I am 10 years old. I play four instruments. They are harp, cello, piano and violin. I like going on bike rides and playing tennis with my dad. My favourite colour is violet with sparkles.

I started composing music by drawing a few basic notes on a piece of manuscript paper. I had to practise drawing treble and base clef a lot of times. Then about three months later I decided to do more complex composing. So then I thought of a theme. I chose to do water themed songs because I was not allowed to go to swimming pools because of lockdown. For example I have got a piece called” Water Bottle Let Loose” and ”Walking On Water”.

My very first composition was for the harp and is called ”Tree Climb” and it was played as part of the 15 second harp series. My latest composition is ”Walking On Water” and had its premiere at an online concert called Harpy Hour in July 2020.

I have also composed a short easy piece for the piano (because more people have a piano than a harp) that I thought readers of any age might like to try and play.

Shaily recently interviewed her harp teacher, Olivia Jageurs. Here is her interview with Olivia.

What is your favourite instrument and why?
This is a really hard question as I do love all instruments and I know I should probably say the harp as that’s the instrument I play every day but I do also like playing the piano and also the cello which I find has a really nice rich, warm sound.

What is your favourite colour and why ?
I think it could actually be orange as I think of it as a happy colour!

Do you find the harp hard?
Yes I find it really hard. With the piano every sound can be heard by simply pushing the key down.
There is a lot behind it as you have to really bring your finger into your hand which can create sore skin. It is also very heavy and so you can have a sore back from lugging a heavy harp around with you!

When did you learn to play the piano?
I started the piano when I was 7 years old when I started the piano and i was 10 when I started to learn how to play the harp, so it can be an easy transition to make. It’s quite good to start on the piano first because the harp essentially has all the white notes on the piano which can make it an easy transition.

What advice could you give me about learning to play an instrument?
Practise little and often, it’s better to practise little bits at a time and to practise well rather than to practise for longer periods and not do it properly. Also you need to enjoy it otherwise there isn’t any point in learning an instrument!

What job did you want to do growing up?
I wanted to be a professional musician as I really like performing! Luckily that has happened!

Which projects have you been working on during lockdown?
I have started an online concert series called ‘Harpy Hour’ on Zoom! It is a request concert and every Friday at 6pm people request their favourite song and I play it! It can be any song request and it has been a really good way to connect with people.
I’ve also started ‘Harp Hangout’ on Zoom as well. It’s where harpists get together and I interview a famous person in our field and we all get the chance to ask them questions.

What is your favourite book?
My favourite book is ‘The Enchanted Wood’ by Enid Blyton, which is about children who go the woods and find ‘The Faraway Tree’. Every day the children go there and find a different world at the top of the tree and they don’t know whether it’s going to be a good or bad world.

Draw yourself and the harp as a line without letting go of the pen on the paper.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love playing with my dog Bonnie, eating and reading! I also enjoy listening to music and going to concerts with friends.

What is your favourite music?
I love classical music and going to operas.

What is your favourite food?
My favourite food is Thai and I love sweets!

Whats your favourite drink?
I love cocktails and during ‘Harpy Hour’ I normally give a cocktail recommendation along with the tickets! You can find out a bit more about it by going to

Why did you start playing the harp?
There is a harp shop in Godstone called ‘Pilgrim Harps’ and one of my best friends from school started playing. I found out that you could rent it from there. They are the only UK onsite harp makers. I highly recommend them to anyone who would like to start playing the harp.

During lockdown Shaily wrote this poem.

I don`t like clothes on toast
But toast on clothes is better
I don`t like wool on sick in a skin
But by they way it`s auber-gine
And why do they have to exist
Because all I want is crisps
And what about bread on bookshelves
With lots and lots of raisins on curtains
But luckily those things don’t exist
But crisps do.
By Shaily. Age 10

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