Exercise 1

A. Watch an interview with a student who has a part-time job. What does Milly want to do when she leaves college? How did her part-time job change her life?

B. Watch again and mark the sentences T (true) or F (false). Correct the F sentences.

1   Milly is studying at the Royal Academy of Music.

2   Her mother was a good singer.

3   She was optimistic when she started her Master’s degree.

4   One of Milly’s problems is the cost of living in London.

5   Her part-time job involves playing with professional musicians.

6   Milly only had 48 hours to prepare for the concert.

7   The audience was not impressed that the performer was a music student.

8   There was a lot of publicity about Milly immediately after the concert.

9   The media attention wasn’t as exciting as the actual concert for Milly.

10   Milly still does the part-time job.



She wants to be a classical singer.

While she was working part-time as an usher at the Wigmore Hall, Milly was asked to go on stage at short notice (in fact, because one of the performers was ill). The concert was a success and her story appeared in the press, which was good for her future career, and has inspired her to carry on.


 F (She is studying at the Royal College of Music.)

 F (She isn’t from a very musical family and she doesn’t know where her voice has come from.)



 F (She looks after the audience, checks tickets, etc.)

 F (She had three days to prepare.)

 F (The audience smiled and clapped a lot.)

 F (After the concert everything went back to normal.)


10   T


A part-time job that changed a student’s life

I = interviewer, M = Milly Forrest

I   Since it was first established in eighteen eighty-two, the Royal College of Music in London has trained many of the world’s most promising young musicians.

This is Milly Forrest, a twenty-four-year-old Masters student who is training to be a classical singer at the Royal College. Today, Milly has a rehearsal and practice performance with her friend and accompanist, Joe. Many of the students here have already been playing and performing for years. And Milly is no different.

M   So, I’ve been singing from about the age of seven. For as long as I can remember…I’ve always loved music. Um, I’m not from a very musical family, um, so I’m not really sure where my voice has come from but, yeah, from an early age I, I knew that I loved being on stage and loved performing.

I   She knew that if she won a place at the Royal College of Music, it would be a real chance to turn her passion into a profession.

M   I had decided to, to do a Masters at the Royal College of Music probably three years ago…and when I got in − because it’s all audition-based − when I got in, er, I thought ‘Oh, OK, well maybe I’ve got a good chance then’.

And, er, and it’s been going well ever since. It’s really fabulous. I’m improving all the time. Er, I have some lovely friends here. But it is tiring and the competition is really high. There are lots of singers out in London who, who are really talented.

I   But while Milly is following her dream, isn’t it difficult being a full time student in London, one of Europe’s most expensive cities?

M   It is, absolutely, it’s very expensive and so I’ve had to have a part time job all the way through my studies. I’ve been working for six years alongside my training. At the moment, I’m an usher at the Wigmore Hall and I’ve been there for three years now.

I   So what does a concert hall usher do?

M   We mainly look after the audience when there are concerts and we do jobs such as checking tickets, and we’re there in case there’s a fire or emergency.

I   In fact, many music students work as ushers and most of them dream of being on stage themselves one day. But for Milly, this opportunity came a little sooner than expected, in July twenty seventeen.

M   Well, I had a call on the Wednesday evening and John Gilhooly, who’s the director of the hall, told me that he’d like me to step in for a concert on the Saturday. So, I had a few days to prepare, but there was a rehearsal first thing on Thursday morning, so I stayed up until probably one in the morning that night desperately learning all the music. Um, I found the words particularly tricky actually − so, er, I mean a lot of the pieces were in French and German − so I got cracking straight away.

I   And after just three days of preparation, Milly took to the stage. But did the audience know she was standing in for a singer who was ill?

M   There was an announcement made at the beginning of the concert, which was lovely because I, I think the whole audience was on my side and everyone wanted me to do well.

I   And it didn’t take Milly long to impress with her voice.

M   … there was a great applause everyone was smiling and clapping and I did have a feeling that I’d done well.

 And the audience weren’t the only ones to take notice.

M   So, after the concert everything went quiet for a couple of weeks, and life just went back to normal, um, and then just out of the blue, er, The Times asked whether they could do an article on me about what had happened and, um, it was a really nice story, so, um, I think it really warmed people’s hearts and, er, and it was nice to make people smile. So, um, that day all of these different news channels got in touch…and I went to the BBC, and did an interview for them and then I met Sky as well and, um, it was really exciting. I must’ve done five or six interviews in the same day. And, er, and then I remember the next morning, um, the Evening Standard had, er, had bought out their, their newspaper and I saw my face on the front cover and when I got on to the Tube everyone was reading that paper, so I saw about a hundred Millies down the carriage − that, and that was, that was really surreal and I think that, that was when it had sunk in a little bit. Um, because the most exciting part for me was getting to sing in the Wigmore Hall along all these fabulous singers that I really admire and look up to, um, but then I, and I sort of hadn’t focused on the media side as much so, er, yeah, it was, it was a lovely occasion.

I   But has this opportunity helped Milly’s career?

M   I think it has. I think, um, it’s given me a boost. It’s made me really inspired and it’s made me work harder over the last year, but actually life carries on and I still have a lot that I want to work on. My voice is nowhere near perfect and I’m my biggest critic but it’s, it was nice to know that someone had me in mind and wanted to encourage me, so fingers crossed things will carry on that positively.

I   And does she still work at the Wigmore Hall?

M   I still work there as an usher. It’s still really expensive living in London and, and every now and again someone comes in and asks ‘Are you going to be performing here soon?’ And I just have to, I just have to tell them that hopefully soon, hopefully soon because you never know what people are planning, um, but it was a lovely, it was a lovely story when it happened.

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