Upper Sixth Former Ollie Graham received some incredibly exciting news over the Easter Holidays.

After a rigorous and demanding application process, Ollie heard the news that he had been waiting on tenterhooks for; that he had won a $13,000 scholarship to study at the preeminent Berklee College of Music on a four-year Film Scoring course.

Ollie said that he literally gasped with shock when he read the email. Followed by what seemed like an eternal wait (while his phone temporarily froze), he then went on to read that not only had he been successful in gaining a place, but that the place is unconditional and that he will go there as a scholar.

Ollie also applied for the New York College of Music and the Los Angeles Musicians Institute, but Berklee was his first choice and so he is over the moon to be offered a place.

The application process was drawn-out over a two-year period and Ollie was required to plough lots of time and energy into the various elements. Ollie received copious amounts of support from the school’s Head of Careers and UCAS, Mrs Lincoln; meeting with her every week for two years! Ollie said, “I’m eternally grateful to Mrs Lincoln for all her expertise in the application process and for supporting me throughout.”

In addition to the administrative side of the process, Ollie was required to write three music compositions accompanied by a score. He was then put through his musical paces at a London-based interview day. Here he was asked to play the drums in a variety of different styles including a jazz, march and rock beat as well as join in a Latin inspired jamming session. His voice and note recognition were put to the test when he was asked to sing back notes played on the piano, and identify whether the note was flat or sharp.  This was then followed by a formal interview with the Music Director from Berklee.

Music Director at Bedford School, Mr Jonathan Sanders said, “I am really pleased for Ollie – he has worked so hard for this. The Film Scoring course at Berklee College of Music is extremely popular and sought-after, so Ollie has done incredibly well not only to have been offered a place but also to have won a scholarship there.”

Ollie’s music repertoire since joining the school is impressive to say the least. He has conducted and led many musical events at the school, recently the outstanding ‘Evening of Film Music’ for which he arranged and conducted the music from many big Hollywood Blockbusters. He has also composed music scores for various school productions as well as some external productions.

Ollie’s first instrument is the drum kit, followed by piano and guitar – all of which he plays to a high standard. He also plays the Chinese flute, ukulele and double bass. He is currently studying Music Technology, Design Technology and Business at A-Level, and will sit his exams this summer.

We wish Ollie all the very best with his exams, and for September when he starts his musical journey with Berklee.  

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