5 December 2019, 00:15 | Up to date: 17 December 2019, 09:45

We met Sir Elton at his outdated alma mater to speak music schooling, his ‘mystical’ song-writing course of and the way the Royal Academy of Music has modified since 1958…

“It was so intimidating then,” Sir Elton tells Traditional FM’s Tim Lihoreau, as they meet in a room behind reception at London’s Royal Academy of Music. “It smelt of concern.”

The good pianist and singer has simply hosted a Q&A with college students of the Academy, which he attended as a Junior Exhibitioner from the tender age of 11.

However by 16, the younger Reggie Dwight had determined to give up his classical roots to pursue a profession in rock ‘n roll. And, relatively hearteningly, he nonetheless places his monumental success right down to these early years spent enjoying scales in a apply room.

“In these days, the Academy meant classical music and nothing else – definitely no rock ‘n roll. That was the satan’s music. However with out my coaching, I by no means would’ve been in a position to write the songs I’ve written.

“I’m so grateful for my classical coaching. I performed Chopin and Mozart and Debussy, and to be a part of the choir was extremely fulfilling. Singing in a choir is such a transferring, life-affirming expertise.”

Learn extra: Feeling pressured? Be a part of a choir, says high psychiatrist >

Sir Elton John speaks to Classic FM’s Tim Lihoreau at the Royal Academy of Music
Sir Elton John speaks to Traditional FM’s Tim Lihoreau on the Royal Academy of Music.

Traditional FM

Right this moment, eight Royal Academy college students a yr are on the Elton John Scholarship – a fund reserved for distinctive younger musicians who would in any other case be unable to afford the charges.

There was a relatively pretty second through the Q&A when 4 of these college students stood up and spoke about what they’d achieved because of their star sponsor. This in fact begged the query: what does Elton make of the dwindling presence of music in immediately’s colleges?

Learn extra: ‘Music wants to remain on the varsity curriculum’, says RPO head >

“Music was one of many few O Ranges I managed to get,” Sir Elton tells Tim.

“A variety of colleges [now] have taken music out of the curriculum and I discover that basically appalling, as a result of music is so inspiring and for teenagers which have the power or need to play music, there’s no outlet for this in colleges anymore. It’s tragic.”

Sir Elton has famously loved a long-lasting relationship with the keyboard. The story goes that as a teen on the Royal Academy of Music, he performed a note-perfect rendition of a four-page Handel composition, fully by ear (for any Rocketman followers on the market, the second is replicated within the film however changed with Mozart’s better-known Rondo alla turca).

Learn extra: Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ below the microscope – why is it so good? >

However that isn’t the one nice musical relationship Elton has loved all through his skilled life. His association with songwriter Bernie Taupin is, Tim suggests, a considerably mystical one.

“It’s very mystical. There’s no rhyme or motive. It exists, I don’t query it,” Elton replies. “It sounds very cliché nevertheless it’s like a present from God.

“I take a look at his lyrics, as I’m taking a look at them a movie seems, I end the lyrics, I put my palms on the keys after which I am going from there. Normally, the primary 4 or 5 chords I play decide what the music’s going to do. And I don’t know the place it comes from.”

Sir Elton John singing
Sir Elton John singing ‘Candle In The Wind’ on the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.


After round 60 years of enjoying for different folks, it will be straightforward to imagine that Sir Elton obtained over any emotions of stage fright a long time in the past.

However there was one occasion of it that he nonetheless remembers very clearly – and it was when he famously performed ‘Candle within the Wind’ on the funeral of Diana, the Princess of Wales, in 1997.

“It was the one time I actually obtained stage fright,” he tells Tim.

“It was an infinite duty, and I’d been singing that music for therefore a few years as ‘Goodbye Norma Jean’, and I needed to name on all my professionalism of all my years of enjoying in golf equipment and being Elton John to tug that off.

“And I used to be doing it for all of the folks outdoors, all all over the world, so I had a teleprompter. I simply didn’t need to sing ‘Goodbye Norma Jean’ – I might’ve been garrotted on the spot. And I pulled it off as a result of I needed to. You need to man up in conditions like that.”

Be a part of us on Traditional FM on Saturday 21st December at 9pm for A Life At The Piano – An Elton John Particular.

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