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Pianist Daniel has a philosophical approach to practising

Daniel Brodie

Rising star Pianist Daniel Brodie, 19, from East London this year takes his second bite at the National Youth Music Competition (NYMC). He is the only musician who has been selected from the Eastern Cape.

He is quite philosophical about the number of hours he is practising. He strongly feels that it is a case of quality above quantity. For him, shorter focused practising is much more valuable than hours and hours of mindless practise that actually achieves nothing.

Apart from the piano, he also plays the flute, clarinet and the organ, but the piano is his first love.

Starting playing music at the age of eight, his first teachers were Margi Diab and Jacques du Plessis. Currently, he is studying piano with Professor Nina Schumann at the University of Stellenbosch.

During his high school years, he was continually in the top 10 young pianists in the country and participated in many competitions including the Hennie Joubert Piano Competition, the Atterbury National Piano Competition and the National Youth Music Competition. In 2015 Daniel obtained his UNISA Grade 8 Piano with distinction and in 2016, was awarded his Licentiate in Piano Performance (LTCL) from TRINITY College, London.

Although his parents are not playing music, the young pianist has two sisters who are also playing music. The one plays the flute and the other is playing the clarinet.

At home he is quite fortunate to have a music room which is some distance from the rest of the living areas – it minimises noise and disturbance to his family when he is at home. Now that he is at university, he is not home for all long periods and his practising doesn’t really affect them.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninov

The rising star finds it awkward to limit his choice of favourite composer, saying he definitely has his preferred composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninov but he is also very fond of lesser-known composers that have written “amazing music”.

On entering the NYMC he says he did so on the advice of his piano teacher but added that he is always up for a challenge and like learning vast amounts of new repertoire – the competition is perfectly suited to creating this sort of environment.

He doesn’t partake in structured extramural activities, but he enjoys getting out-and-about the outdoors and loves hiking in the middle of nowhere and enjoy horse riding for hours in the holidays.

Daniel is also studying French this year and listens mainly to Radio France to help him understand the language better. He hopes to further his music studies overseas.