When I was 18 years old the only thing I wanted to do was study music. I played the clarinet and saxophone in all the school bands, attended choir, studied A Level music, had instrumental lessons and went to two different county music centre bands every week. I worked at weekends and holidays to earn money to pay for lessons and used to catch the bus all across town to attend weekly rehearsals – I was that music kid!
When I was 9 or 10, I remember sitting in a school assembly next to my best friend and watching a demo of the flute and clarinet by two students. My friend instantly decided he wanted to learn flute and so of course I decided I wanted to learn clarinet. We were already in the school recorder group and were pretty good so it made sense that this was the next step. My friend did learn the flute and I ended up moving to a different part of the country.
It took a long time to finally get those clarinet lessons. My parents weren’t wealthy and lessons were expensive. We moved around and eventually I ended up at a school where the group lessons were free and I was loaned an instrument. Truthfully if that hadn’t been in place then I wouldn’t have had an amazing career in music.
When I was 18 years old my dream was to go to university to study music. It was my number one goal and I had worked hard to be good enough to get there. However, my classroom music teacher told me that my dream of going to university was silly, that I probably wouldn’t get in and I should go later in life like her brother. Luckily she was wrong and I was determined enough to prove her wrong. I got to the university of my choice and studied music. I went on to get a PGCE in secondary music teaching and eventually a MA in Education. I have taught music for the last 25 years in different school and countries, led bands, choirs and seen students go to university to study music. I am super proud of what I have achieved so far!
However, those words sat with me for a long time. Perhaps too long without realising. Maybe if she had supported that young, impressionable 18 year old rather than criticised, maybe I would have been a more confident musician.
Yet, her words inspired me to be a different type of teacher. I believe in helping my students feel confident, grow in ability and more importantly, teach them that they can achieve anything that they put their mind to. You see, it’s far too easy to pigeon-hole people into boxes but when you let go of all those labels it’s amazing how much people can shine. All we ever really needed was a little cheering on, a few tips on how to improve and momentum. I have seen this happen over and over again in so many settings. I am so proud of what my students do and the people they become!
If your goal is to play your favourite hymn, pop song, jazz standard, Christmas carol, be in a rock band or the church choir; then our studio will help you. We will give you the tools and support to grow in confidence to do this. It can take time, a bit of patience and practice but we will show you the quickest steps and be there cheering you on – every step of the way.
Music is for EVERYONE. We will continue to strive for that and to ensure that we help all our students shine.
Contact us – we are here to help!