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Alejandro Barnett – Committed to elevate his musical skills

Since a young age, Alejandro has always loved music. By the time he reached 11 years old, he played three different instruments, showcasing his remarkable talent and dedication. Now, he’s on a mission to raise funds for a new pedal harp that promises to take his musical skills to a whole new level.

Mastering the melodies

Alejandro’s journey into music began when a supply teacher at his primary school introduced a guitar into their everyday classes. That single moment sparked Alejandro’s fascination with the guitar’s potential – from its sweet melodies to its powerful chords, and the thrill of performing in front of others.

“I asked for a guitar for my birthday, and I really enjoyed learning how to play it. My favourite is being able to perform lots of different pieces by a wide range of composers. I love performing because, although I can get slightly nervous, when I start playing it feels like just me and the music.”

However, being interested in one instrument isn’t enough. You've got to be all in – dedicated, passionate and, most importantly, committed to levelling up your musical skills. That's why Alejandro decided to join Sheffield Music Academy, to transform “playing the guitar” into something more than just a hobby – to make it part of who he is and his future.

“Studying at Sheffield Music Academy has given me more skills than I had ever expected. I enjoy being around other musicians, who play a wide range of instruments, not just the ones that I play. By being in this environment, I can understand more about instruments that I don’t play which will help with my composing skills and overall understanding of music.
My favourite class at SMA is guitar duet. This is because I find it really fun to play with other guitarists and be able to discover lots of repertoire for two guitars. There is lots of music for two guitars from all through the eras, ranging from arrangements for two guitars from baroque pieces, all the way to blues pieces.”

If you think learning one instrument is enough, think again! Learning to play the guitar was just the start for Alejandro.

Young musician, Alejandro, playing the harp.
Alejandro playing the harp at one of SMA's concerts.
“I play 3 different instruments: guitar, harp and piano. Guitar was my first instrument, which I started playing 6 years ago, and then in my second year at SMA, I was advised to study piano as well. The piano is really useful to broaden my knowledge of music, so I have decided to keep it going too. Then in my 3rd year, SMA harp teacher, Mary Anne Gayford, asked during a lunchtime concert if anyone would like to try out the harp. I had a go at it and loved it instantly. I’ve never looked back, practising and performing at every opportunity!
I don’t have a favourite instrument, because I love them all. However, the harp does create lots of opportunities to perform in different events and concerts.”

A musical journey of determination

Alejandro minutes before his performance and interview at BBC Look North.

Alejandro is gearing up for his next musical challenge, but he can't do it alone. That's why he's taking matters into his own hands, showcasing his talent for all to see. He has launched a fundraising campaign for a concert pedal harp, a crucial step in expanding his harp skills, something he's eager and prepared to achieve.

“By getting a concert pedal harp, I will be able to play more music in the orchestras at SMA. Recently, I have been playing pedal harp parts on my lever harp, and I have not been able to do everything that is required for the part. However, with a pedal harp, these parts will be more accessible to me.
Since May 2023, I have been going out busking to try and reach my goal, and so far, I have managed to raise £3,000 of £20,000. As well as busking, I have been playing at events for people around Yorkshire. All of this money has been going towards my funds and I am hoping to try and achieve this target as soon as possible.”

And nothing is slowing him down! Alongside his school commitments and Saturday sessions at Sheffield Music Academy, Alejandro is playing his harp in markets, cafes, and parks across various cities, including Bakewell, Rotherham, Swinton, and Sheffield. He's even secured television interviews with BBC Look North! You can support Alejandro’s campaign by donating here.

We continue to see Alejandro's passion, talent, and determination in action, and we're honoured to witness the beginning of this incredible journey. At just 15 years old, Alejandro has already set his sights on a career in music, and we're incredibly excited to see where this musical journey will take him!

“After SMA, I plan to try and study at a music conservatoire and then hopefully try and get a career in music. At the moment, I am not too sure of what I would do in music, as I play a wide range of different styles, so it will be difficult to choose one to do professionally. But I know that I want to be a musician.”

And for all aspiring young musicians out there, Alejandro has some words of wisdom to share:

“Although music may be challenging in the beginning, with commitment and dedication, it will be very enjoyable. It’s incredibly rewarding, and the more practice you put in, the more rewarding it is. There are lots of opportunities, whether it’s solo or group performances, and orchestral ensembles. Music is fantastic to be involved in, and there is always something for everyone.”

Discover how Sheffield Music Academy empowers young talent!


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