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Holli Pandit’s Christmas message – what I have been up to since AGT 2016

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In September 2019, I joined the National Open Youth Orchestra.  When I joined NOYO I immediately felt welcomed and comfortable.  It has been really fun to play with other musicians who are like me, I feel proud to be an Autistic musician.

In November 2019 I took part in the NYO inspire day at the Barbican and I was selected to introduce the different organisations making up the NYO Inspire Orchestra (NYO, YOLA and NOYO) to the audience.  This was my first time doing public speaking, so I was quite nervous and practised a lot and it paid off.

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Since the pandemic, I have been trying to use the time to make me a more well-rounded musician, so I can adapt to different environments faster. 

After learning that my A levels exams were cancelled, I watched lots of TV,  had video calls with friends and went on walks in my area.

About the one month mark, I got bored and saw an article in the Financial Times about a free course specifically designed for teenagers.  I jumped at the opportunity.

After a few weeks, I found the Venture Capital world exciting and was able to link it back to the music world (because it’s all I know!). 

I became very interested in business and how politics were linked and how it affects me.  After the course, I took part in their Teen VC Challenge and came in the top 20.

I also started writing my own blog about music, called musiholli.

My motivations were wanting to help other student musicians like me and I want to share the music that interests me. 

My plan was to always take a gap year after my A level to become a better musician, so the pandemic has helped me improve my recording skills and helped me reflect on what I want to be.

In September of 2020 I took part in the ‘Reshape Music:  A report exploring the lived experience of Disabled musicians in education and beyond’ Report as a co-researcher.  As a co-researcher, I spoke about my experiences as a disabled musician.

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I learnt a lot from the other co-researchers’ experiences about how disabled musicians can be often overlooked due to some people not understanding our needs.

Although lots of the data was quite gloomy I was reminded of how passionate the AGT community is about showcasing Autistic people and my experiences at AGT have spurred me on.

In the last few months, I have been preparing and auditioning to Conservatories for undergraduate music performance courses starting in 2021.

Due to the pandemic, I had to record my pieces at home.  I found the video-making process positive and I am now more comfortable in recording myself.

Please listen to me play a song called “In the Bleak Midwinter” and my Christmas message below:

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