Over the last 25 years, I have spent pretty much every working day in a classroom sharing my love of music with teenagers in secondary schools. It has been a wonderful opportunity to develop my skills as a teacher and musician whilst inspiring generations of children to love music. Many of my students still play today and have gone onto study music at university and have careers in the arts.
I am super proud of what my students have achieved over the years. Watching them develop in confidence, ability and growing into wonderful adults has been the most rewarding part of the job. We had so much fun through music and still keep in touch now.
So, what opportunities now exist for them to continue to play or sing? In fact, what opportunities exist for me to continue to play or sing?
This has been a recurring thought over the last few years, especially because I have been working abroad and away from home and family. I wanted to find a way to belong to my new local community through music and be part of something that offered human connection and in truth what I was looking for didn’t really exist. Yet, I saw it everywhere with sports.
See, practising music alone can be fine. I can put on a backing track or a Youtube recording and play along with it. I can record myself and use apps to create cool duets. I can even post my daily practice sessions onto Instagram, Tik-Tok or Facebook to have some form of connection and accountability. However, in truth there is still something magical about playing my clarinet with others, singing in a choir and playing piano in a rock band. The connection and shared joy of music making with others is so very important for our mental health, wellbeing and human spirit.
So what is the biggest hurdle in the way of adults continuing to be involved in music?
Common fears are – no time, lack of ability, embarrassed about being a beginner, scared of being judged, worried about not being good enough and feeling too old to learn something new. In truth, these fears are valid and normal because at some point in our past we have felt all of these emotions when learning something new.
However, what if I told you that these are just limiting beliefs and that if you were open to learning without creating unnecessary pressure on yourself you would achieve amazing things?
In the adult choir I run on zoom, it has been amazing to watch how much they have grown over the last three months. Seeing their confidence and ability grow with each new piece is just lovely to watch. Yes, they are far too hard on themselves and sometimes struggle with the thought of having to ‘learn’ a new piece, but the joy and fun that is in the rehearsal room is wonderful.
So as I prepare to set up the new studio here in Champions Gate, Florida, my mission is to create as many opportunities for adults to start or continue to be involved in community music as possible. Music is a life-long hobby for EVERYONE and I want to ensure that the studio offers musical opportunities for everyone to continue learning long after leaving school. If sports can do it – then so can music!
I want you to be part of the journey and direction of the programs on offer. I have already seen a desire for a glee-style choir (which I just absolutely adore), a parent and tots programme, and woodwind ensembles. I am totally open to suggestions, so please let me know what you would like the studio to offer!
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