Conservatoire students’ creative hobbies

Conservatoire students are very dedicated; practise, study and performance takes up a lot of time. However it’s also important to have some time away from music, and many RBC students have hobbies outside of their studies that help them relax and unwind – some of which you might find surprising!

Emily Abdy
MMus Composition student

RBC hobbies primary

Jack Measham – cellist and drag artist

What does drag involve?

Drag involves a lot of time and effort, especially getting ready! It normally takes three to four hours to get fully into drag (make-up, wigs, outfits, nails, heels). I normally do it on a Thursday night with my boyfriend Teal Sparkes, who was the whole reason we both got into drag. We were both very into the TC show ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race’, and decided about a year and a half ago to try it ourselves.

Is drag similar to your musical studies and aid them in any way?

Drag is so much fun, especially if I ever perform on stage. The adrenaline rush is really similar to performing the cello in concert! Drag also opens up a world of new friends and talents. It’s quite a contrast to music, but both have similarities in confidence-boosting and enjoyment. I think that by being on some form of stage it helps combat nerves, and the end product is a fabulous feeling. 

Tanya Achinikova – pianist and artist

How did you start creating the art you do now?

For the past two years I had been living in China and working in a University there. I came to the UK alone and felt I had to do something which would take my mind off of being homesick. When I went home to Belarus for the winter holidays, I found a box of soft pastels at home so I started learning more about this material on YouTube, and now creating art with pastels has become something which allows me to forget about everything and completely immerse myself in it. I particularly love to create seascapes and underwater scenes.

Does art have an impact on your playing?

I think art has started to influence my music, and playing influences the way I improve my skills in painting. It’s hard to explain but I just started to hear clearly how the piece should sound, naturally.

Do you view it just as a hobby or a potential side hustle?

I’m not thinking about this as a commercial thing, for selling and earning money. I just paint because I can’t not paint! Sometimes people do write to me to have me paint something to order. From the recent orders there are three pictures; three Scriabin’s Preludes painted and sold in Israel. I don’t know yet what will happen in the future, but it makes me feel happy and healthy, and I am glad that people like my pictures.

You can view Tanya’s work here

Millicent James – composer and gaming enthusiast

How long have you been into gaming?

I remember my mum telling me about when ‘Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time’ came out in 1998, two-three weeks after I was born, and she was breastfeeding me whilst playing at the same time. So it’s safe to say that I was raised on video games!

Does playing video games allow you time to be sociable?

I play video games every day if I have the time, but there’s also a discord server that I am a part of which is how I communicate with my online friends. I used to be a captain of a ‘Splatoon 2’ competitive team but had to stop because of studying and exams. I really enjoy making friends through playing video games. My online friends are really cool and funny too, and they’re always supportive of me.

Do video games relate to your studies?

I find it a stress relief, even if the games do sometimes make me rage! Video game soundtracks like ‘Breath of The Wild’, ‘Zelda’, ‘Final Fantasy’, ‘Super Mario’, ‘Undertale’ and many others influence some of my compositional writing. I’d say that animé and films/TV are also a big influence on my style of writing.

Conservatoire students' active hobbies

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