For those of you who are not big music fans, don’t worry I’m not away to turn into some sort of super geeky band nerd! I just wanted to share this story to make those who are feeling a bit apprehensive about teaching music in their class not alone!
“You’re going to the Albert Hall!!” was the only thing I remembered from that band practice three years ago. The BBC Youth Proms wanted us to play in their concert? Surely not? But yes! Yes they did..
I’ve been playing brass since primary 5 and I was by no means a musical god that’s for sure! I didn’t let that stop me however! In my second year at high school my brass teacher asked me if I wanted to join the Carnoustie and District Youth Brass Band. I live in Carnoustie, which is a rather small place but every member, bar a few, come from the town- something quite unusual in the world of brass bands. We were also all taught by the same instructor- again something very unique. I knew the band was for competition purposes so thought that I’d give it a try and see what it would be like. If only I knew where that would lead..
Most bands are around for years and years before they enjoy competition success. We were exceptionally fortunate and only took four. Before I knew it we had won British and Scottish championship titles more than once and were winning awards from the likes of the BBC. It was a complete whirlwind experience! Unknown to us, something even better was waiting around the corner!
Playing live on stage to 5,000 people in the Royal Albert Hall is something I cant quite explain. Being washed with the overwhelming sound of applause vibrating the stage under your feet is something you just don’t forget. None of us could believe that we had somehow made it here. Yes, we had put in hours upon hours of rehearsing, blood, sweat and tears. When I say tears, I mean serious tears!
You would think that this would mean I’m probably quite confident about standing in front of a class and delivering a music lesson, but not quite. After all these years I have developed my own way of interpreting music and my own way of learning it. So now I need to develop all of that into a way that a child will understand and can use later in life. In some respect I need to go back and relearn music! Which is actually a rather daunting thought! I can’t be selfish and demand that it is my way of learning music and that’s it! No, I have to consider what will be best for the children I will be teaching. I have to think of ways to keep those who enjoy music interested and those who don’t, enthusiastic about it! I have had my opportunity to get specialised help but now it’s time for me to pass some of that knowledge on so that future children can benefit from music like I did. Music is a brilliant way to let children express themselves and liven up their learning! No child should be deprived of the chance to experience what music can mean and do for them.
Music gave me friends, a sense of teamwork, discipline and an understanding of what it feels like to be rewarded for hard work. Without it I don’t think I would be at University today. This is why I feel music is such an important part of the curriculum and can be done so in a variety of different ways.
Let’s get music into those classrooms!
If you fancy a listen, below was part of our performance in the 2012 British Youth Championships, which we were lucky enough to come 1st, giving us the title of Best Youth band in Britain. All the players are aged 12-21! I’m experiencing a rather bad hair day in the video..I’ll blame the nerves!
The last minute or so is my favourite!