Personal Statement

My interest in music stems back from when I started to learn the clarinet at 8 years old. Since then I have grown as a musician and will continue to grow, as learning in music is a lifelong experience. My music has given me the privilege of playing in orchestras, jazz bands, chamber groups, world music groups, wind bands, and rock bands, amongst others. I have been fortunate enough to play with many great musicians over the years both in the Uk and in the US. However, I feel that music is sometimes not given the time that it should be and also that not all children get the opportunity to experience it. I would like to try and change that by helping to make music more accessible to all children, whether by one-on-one instrumental teaching or by helping a class of musicians to develop in their musical confidence. I am always keen to make sure my lessons/projects are always fun but have an element of challenge to them.

My recent professional development is heading in the direction of playing and teaching more improvisation, which I personally feel is a great way of being able to express yourself. I have been improvising in bands and ensembles for over 10 years now and have worked with musicians in a wide range of styles including folk, blues, rock and avant-garde. Reading music is an important skill, but for some people this can seem daunting and improvising releases alot of the tension felt around reading music. I believe both skills are necessary to becoming a rounded musician and I actively encourage learning to read notation as well as improvising. One can be learnt without the other, but I feel I missed out as a youngster by only learning to read notation and never improvising in lessons. Thankfully, there is much more material suitable for all ability levels in learning to improvise now and ABRSM jazz exams have opened up the possibilities for students wishing to learn jazz and improvisation.

I believe that music has a very important role in society. Music is something which is around us all the time, though perhaps sometimes we don't even realise it. Everyone has the ability to be musical; some need to be made aware of this ability and to be given the opportunity. By offering children the opportunity to get involved in a music project I hope to cover a gap which they may have been previously unable to fill, or to give an opportunity for those already playing an instrument to play with others at their own level in a non-judgemental environment. The type of projects I run assume no previous musical experience, yet allow those with experience to put it into practice. My projects are fun and give children the chance to compose, improvise and perform.