Episode · 1 year ago

9: Ciaran Roberts-Osterberg


Andrew speaks with aspiring autistic musician Ciaran Roberts-Osterberg who has been studying at Berklee College of Music in the United States. Coming back home due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of his second semester, he speaks about how he got into drumming, the process of getting into the college and what he hopes to do for the future! 

Originally released on 21 October 2020.

Hi, my name is undrew batchor ind,welcome to Dunde, cast a podcast shorcass, an Dan dhese amazing peopleon a new patform, sharing their stories undeir aspirations. On today's episodewe talkd to Kivrin Roberts Hausterberg, who is an Swayeran Artistic Drammarfrom Dundee. I coul across Cune Story during the Year of IM people back intwo thousand and eighteen and I was roughr, but the time he was campaigningto fundrews to go to Berkley College of music in the United States and readinghis story at the time was nothing but inspirational, and I wanted to help himpromote his fundaries on Dundy culture, and I am really excited to hove him onthis podcast. So welcome karing. I was Wann to firstly ask for the listeners to be ful, explainwho you are and what you do and a little bit more detail. Okay, so myname is Keran Roberts osterburge. I am a aspiring musician from Dundee. At themoment I am studying a bachelor's degree in music performance and contemporarywriting and production at the world famous Berkeley College, an music. Ilove their tshirt a little bit too much and at the moment I'm still trying tofun raise the rest of the amount for my second year and because of the pandemic,I'm having to spend this semester learning fully from home. So I had tocome back from the campus in March because the number of covid cases inthe US were rising rapidly, so we had to evacuate. Hopefully I may be able to return nextyear if things get better but we'll have to see how it goes. So what got you into Drummin? I meanbecause it's really interesting to no help. People start from from where wethey were like first and then hop they get where they ar so how Wuld it startfor you. I have to say it was actually a result of a lot of bullying that I went through when I was in high school,so o being a being a person with autism inhigh school was really not easy t at that time. I was, I wasn't very publicabout it, but it got really bad at one point that some of my teachers were suggestingthat I go and kind of take myself off to the practice rooms in the school. SoI wouldn't have to be around the police, and I just Iheard some other kids playing the drumset one day and then just I reallyfound that sound, interesting and amazing. So I went and saw if I couldticke up any drum lessons at the school and I started learning at school and Ididn't really get seriously into it until maybe about was until I was aboutsixteen, because I met my Mento or...

Gordon McNeil who taught at the school. I went to andhe's kind of known around Scotland, as you know, one of the the biggestprofessional jazz musicians, but he got me really hooked on jazz and from there it was just learning about as much of thedrums as I can and when I was doing you know my research on Jazz, because Iwanted to know everything I could about sit. I found out about the FIVETIMEGrammin, winning drummer and Tonio Sanchez who's actually also BrekeleyAlumni, and when I found out about his history with Brerkeley and drumming,you know it kind of really inspired me to try and take drumming to the biggest level that Icould, because Gordon Yeu took a really big interest in my development and himand my mom. They encouraged me to really go for my dream of going toBerkeley and a couple years later after I leftschool, you know I gave it a shop and I maline to get in, and that was that wasafter applying to several other conservators in the UK who all rejectedme, but I managed to get into Berkeley, which is the the world's BestContemporary Music School. So after that it was just it's like. I was writing on air. Youknow it was a dream Comi true and then I had to do nearly two years offunraising to be able to make that dream happen. When you were being Mantogoes out when you'd say TDID, you want to go backly and what promit you to go?What I want to go there, I would say the inspiration came from when I reallygot seriously into jazz, so Brekley actually has a very prominent historyof helping the the greatest musicians in jazz to exceed in their careers anda lot of them studied at Berkley. So when I was trying to find out aboutjazz as much as I could, I saw that Berkeley has a history with these topprofessionals. People like Joe Lovano and Vinei Call Uta Terrylyn Carrington,Esperans a spalding, Steve Smith, the drummer from journey. You know they allplayed a part in the development of their careers, and you know that's whenI decided that after I finished school, Berkeley is where I wanted to go, andyou know also because of Antonio Sanches. He studied there in the s andhe's my my biggest hero so seeing that he studied at Berkeley that inspired me to want to go for it interms of the the actural steps to being accepted. You know I had to go throughan application process. I actually had to travel down to London to auditionfor them, which was a very, very nerveracking experience, but I went in and I did my audition and youknow surprisingly, it was actually the best audition I ever did and I was veryvery lucky because one of my...

...auditioning faculty actually said to methat I was the best UK audition that they had seen that year. So that was areally huge confidence bister. What was supposed SOS like when you finish theditionin to know plin Te, not you ere, you were accected into the in tebecly.What was that dored, like was a Nar Rockin? Was it like Amos? I just goingto be good a gon, be like what were you feeling like when Dou're tnot pain? Oh,my goodness, this is spenses. So I finished up my audition. That day I spoke with them a little bit about.You know what I'm hoping to do it Brickley, and then I spoke to anotherfaculty member. You know they would ask me things likeyou know. How could I be an asset to the Brokeley community? What can I bring to the school? What doI hope to achieve there and then afterwards, I came back home to Dundeeand I think I waited maybe about a month and a half two months. It tookquite a while because they get so many applicants every year and in that time one thing I didn't know about Americanschools is that you have to submit your Scottish grades. So you know I did mysqa exams in school and I had to get them evaluated by a credential agency.So they'd have like the American equivalent of my grades, so I have tosend that to them and then I would also just have to have to wait of them thatand it took a long time I was getting so nervous and then strangely onemorning I was actually coming back from a late night Gig with my mentor, Gordonbecause he plays the the Jazscine in Glasgow quite a lot, and he took me out to his gigs quite a lot. SoI get a chance to watch him and his band and learn and hen. Even let me sitin on the gigs. Sometimes, which is amazing, and then we got back reallyreally late, so I slept in like really late afternoon and then I opi wake up,and I check my email and it's staring me in the face. We have made ourdecision. Please log, on to view your decision, and you know it was. It wasso nerve racking, but then I click on it and it says: Congratulations hereand you've been accepted to Berkeley, and I was just I was sitting in mychair like I am now and I fell back in my chair with shock. How did yourfamily react to that news? Well, mom was absolutely ecstatic. You know Ifound out. I fell back in my chair and then I got up and I ran through to tell her and she was just screamingat the top of her lungs but rying and screaming with happiness, and it was.It was such a lovely moment for mom, and I because it was just you know, it was a lot of rejectionthat I had had to deal with in the time leading upto that and it just it felt, like you know, just absolute magic openingup that letter and seem you've been accepted to the best school in theworld. You know somebody come a person with autism coming from Dundee. Youknow to get accepted into the best... is just there's really nofeeling like it. You know when you, when you come down, you were taught youhad tho sort. Ondreason campaign was up after that to get into the school andwhat types of campaigning did you do to help bundres for your fesh year, sothat the fun reasing took a while when, when I got accepted to Brokeley,you know that's when we realized that we would have a lot offun reason to do and what I had to do was I actually deferred my place for ayear to give me time to raise the funds and mum, and I did all sorts of thingsfrom writing. Hundreds and hundreds ofletters to charities grandbodi scholarship funds.I wrote to wealthy individuals, I wrote to soliciting firms bank companies. Mum was really great because she becamea bit of a twister, Whiz and kind of, like my my pr rep she'd be eating oprathree times a day asking to help me, which was quite amazing, and then wealso did things like halls. fundraicking events which I got reallylucky to do. The the Lord and Lady of the enciree estates were really bigsupporters of me and I wrote a letter to them because they run this beautiful,beautiful arts club where they hold like gigs and weddings and stuff, andthey responded back saying that they'd they'd love to help me Ut, put on somesort of fun rasing event, so I got to get to know them and honestly theyarejust to the loveless people you'll over meet, and they helped me put on thisreally amazing event at the club, which helped to Rase a good bit of money. Andthen we also did things like we'd sell bedding plants and strawberries at different events. Onetime we actually sold them by the roadsides and we'd get lucky and peoplewould stop by and come buy some stuff from us, and then youalso sow cupkacks to. But you know we did all sorts of things. You know weran my gofront me campaign, we sold food and plants. I went into a supermarket with a with abucket asking people to help me and just writing so many letters to so many people. Iwas, I was lucky if I got maybe five or six responses for some people.You know it's fun. reasing is a very difficult thing and I actually also gota bit of support from the US consulate in Edinburnh. They let me perform atone of their events with my Jastrio, which was really helpful in terms ofpublicizing my campaign and obviously your work as well with Dunde culture,and you know that I've been very grateful that you've written the piecesyou have about me. So there's that tap. When you found hat you got the the money reas that when you fundou theFundri O reached it school. What were you like? You know I was just I was. Iwas just in shock. You know, I couldn't believe it. It's a goal. I've beenworking nearly two years towards, and... know I was. I was really worriedthat I wasn't going to be able to make it because the deadline was coming up very soon in summer, O two thousand and nineteen,and I was really worried that I was not going to get to go because I still hada little bit left to raise and I had to go through the process of getting mystudent, Visa and stuff, and you know that was a really long process itself.So you know the day that I found out. I just I just couldn't believe it. Youknow. Loads of people told me that I was 't. I was never going to be able todo it and I proved it to myself and I provedthem wrong. You know I found out. It was something that I could actuallyachieve. It was just it was a beautiful feeling and the fact that I got to you know I managed to get so muchsupport from so many people across Scotland in trying to reach this scull.It was very relieving. It was a very happy moment and you know I got. I gotto experience that moment with my mom as well. You know, and I wouldn't havehad any other way when the time came, for you too go to Berley what wasanticipation like in what was like traveling there ind going in gettingSALP and what was like stocked and o Berkley. Honestly, it was just it wasthe best experience. You know we got me packed up, got to Edinburgh Airport the day of mydeparture and just flying in to Boston. Later that day, you know, get itgetting to see the you know the city that I've beenworking two years toactally come to like it was. It was a very emotionalmoment for me and then just getting on on to the Berkeley campus like the veryfirst day of my orientation, like I just I just couldn't believe I wasreally there. It was really overwhelming, and just honestly justone of the happy one not one of it was the happiest moment of my life and whatwas it like or like what your first day and en youremember that and w what was it like, and how did you feel the first day wasvery, very busy the US etucation system. They can doclasses from as early as eight o'clock in the morning to as late as eleven atnight. I'm lucky that you know my firstsemester classes. I never had to go past six, but I just remember my firstday. You know you you'd go into the cafeteria to get yourself somebreakfast, which was just amazing. You know I was really worried that collegefood was not going to be good, but, oh, my goodness, the the food in thiscafeteria was just incredible and then trying to rush around and findwhere my class was because I brok Berkeley's not like it's not onebuilding. It's quite a few spread over a campus of like a couple blocks. So 'I would have to look up where this room was in a building and make sure I wasin the right building and then Hav them to rush between places. I mean Itasgood because I got exercise from walking so much, but everyone was justrushing around trying to get to their... class. It was just so many peoplepacked in together, but I also saw this amazing thing of going into the lobby of one of thebuildings, and you know all these musicians are just like sitting therewith their guitars an their keyboards and just playing music and making noise,and it was like I was in it was like. I was in episode of Fame. The TV showover the course of your first year. What what things did you wearn and wasa good life experience? You know it was. It was a really life changingexperience. For me, you know, as I mentioned to you, I wentthrough a lot of bullying in school, so when I got to Berkeley thingscompletely kind of turned around for me, you know it was. It was very easy forme to make friends with all these. You know amazing. Other people from placesall over the world and especially with Being ArtisticBrickley, helped me learn a lot about being independent and you know being able to manage myown schedule and manage my life, and I felt really great for that, because momhas to help me with a lot of these things, because I can't always manageto do things on my own, but when I was at Berkeley, I learned how to do so.Many things, and you know I learned how to network with people. You know I wasable to get over. This really overwhelming feeling of you know,meeting New People and developing relationships, and I got to get to know and play with some reallyreally amazing musicians like this one person, especially, is this amazing cianist name, HessisMelina, who studied a Beckley as well. You know he's like a cano virtue, so,and you know I was able to talk to him and develop a relationship with him andmeet really great people like him. So you know it was. It was a greatexperience and being at Berkeley. I got to experience what it was like to haveyou know, true friends, I never did a thing like go out to the park with friends or goto a restaurant for a nice meal, and you know I got to experience that partof life a Brekeley. You know, alongside bit all the amazing playing and thefirst class classes nd stuff it was. It was beautiful, obviously, no weere inthe middle of a gooble pandemic and and and everything's just shut down, andyou know things changed and wifeis their friend and how was this affectand like your secondgon? The the pandemic has been very tough. You know, because it'sgotten really bad in the US. We we all had to leave campus in the middle of our secondsemesters, like th the week that we got told that we would have to leaveBreckley. You know I was right in the middle of my midterm exams, so I had tofinish my midterms whilst also packing...

...up m my dooringroom and then being andthen having to come back to Scotland. All in the space of I got lucky becausemum was able to come out just for a day to help me get packed up,and then we flew back and then I had to finish the rest of mysecond semester online, which was really tough, because you know nobodyhad done that before we didn't. We didn't really know how to handle it. Sothings like on sembles, you know I'd meet with aband weekly and we play music and H. that's that's tough. In itself. Youknow getting together and playing music with people. It's not something you cando easily over a zoom call. I didn't have any drums when I came back so Ihad to. I had to play all my drum stuff on pots and patens, which was really really interesting, and you know we allwere were hoping that things might get better by the fall and that we'd beable to come back, but we had to end up doing this forremotely. I mean I've been lucky in one case that you know I've still been able tocollaborate with people and some stuff. You know I'd help them write out somearrangements of music. You know and I'd still be able to work on differentprojects with my friends and Y. U I may not be able to see them every day,which is which has really been hard, because youknow it was the first time in my life. I had real friends, but you know we'refacetiming as much as we can. You know part from the verly busy class schedule, but also being home, has saved a lot ofmoney as well, because you know I'm not having to pay the costs of my Dorng or food, or you know, student healthinsurance. So I've been lucky that it's worked out for me like that, because ifwe had been going back in the fall it would have been a lot more difficult in terms of fun raising. So in a waythis has been a blessing because it's made fun raising easier, but it's it'smade classes much more difficult that it's a little bit of a balance reallyand one ar the things I was really want to ask. You was what what do you wantto be in the next five years? Obviously, and like is a career for yourself, what doyou what to do, and would you see yourself with Ta Yeas? Well, hopefully,after I'm finished, I would like to be able to come back home. You know. I'vesaid before in other interviews that a big goal of mine is to be able totake everything that I've learned at Berkeley and be able to create acurriculum that is truition free for you know the next generation themusicians here in Dundee- and you know I love to bring Dundene Music Educationto the forefront of of Scotch Music Education. You know, because we don'tget as many opportunities as other cities like edinbure and Glasgow andI'm lucky, because I'm learning the things that I am at Berkley and if Ican pass that onto you, know music...

...students here who are you know, reallypassionate about it and and want to continue with it like, for example, myMentar agordon. He set up this great institute the the Dunde SchoolsSoljazz collective, which is like an initiative for helping children allacross Dunbe kind of have an introductory session with jazz andinprovisational music and learn how you know amazing. It can be as as somethingto play and something you love, but also how it can help you develop andgrow, and I helped teach at it for a while. But you know bringing back aBerkley Education. I also want to help children with disabilities here as well,because you know I'm someone with the disability and I was I was able to go to another country,and you know I'm working at this amazingschool and if I can help inspire other kids and help them believe inthemselves that they can do great things like that too, and you know Iwant to show people that music education is something to really investin. You know. Music has changed my life in so many great ways you know in justI want to be able to do that. For other people as well, final is, is someone Ialways ask Ol my guesss. What place would you give someone who wants to youknow be who wants to get involved in? You knowDrumin, and they want yoo or hole the aspirations of going to like going toBakwit. Like yourself like what a place? Would you give somebody who is a bityounger? Who wants to be in your position and where you want to go tothe future, I would say: Dream big work, hard, don't give up, don't evergive up. Thank you so much Kearing, a wal talking with you and if you want tohelp Keyrin and his fundreson for his second year bitically, you can do so byfinding the wink to his Gofon me page in the description bubble and if youare like in the content and produceing for dente culture for the NECAST, whynot consider supporting meon cofee, which is able to give you options topay one oftenation or mental donation? An sport given either to myself Aundorkyren would be very much appreciated. Thank you very much. I can't waith tosee you on the next episode.

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