Music is my life.
For the past 15 years I have spent a lot of time teaching young children music. When I say young, I mean from 3 days old! I often get honoured with their first trip into the outside world. There are very few babies who don’t instinctively respond to music, and it is lovely to witness, particularly with your own child. All my teaching has been in Children’s Centres and schools, giving families and young children access to free music education. This is something I feel very strongly about.
The wonderful thing about making music with young children is the unadulterated fun, sheer silliness and pure joy of the experience. It ideally means that all inhibitions and self-consciousness are wiped away. Freeing everyone involved to get the benefits of participating in making music without being a “musician”.
It never ceases to amaze me how much can be learnt through music and song. And because music is fun, everyday I’m shown that “what you learn with pleasure, you never forget”.
A lot of adults wish they could play an instrument, or were able to be musical. Children don’t worry about all that rubbish, they just play. So they play music without being worried about not being able to do it. I don’t think this should ever stop. We should keep playing. And when you see the obvious benefits it has on so many children, you really do wonder why it isn’t utilised more in education.
It is also one of the most important tools to use whilst helping your child to learn to talk.
EDUCATION IS NOT THE FILLING OF A PAIL, BUT THE LIGHTING OF A FIRE.
I am lucky enough to have been playing instruments since I was 6 years old. I started learning the piano, adding the cornet a bit later. My training was classical, which led to school orchestras and performing, but the very formal focus lacked the passion to keep my attention. This training did however give me an invaluable grounding and was key in being able to follow my new passion, a fascination and love of recording studios, the music making process and big speakers!
I started working in recording studios whilst still at school and by 17 had begun my climb from teaboy to Recording Engineer. I spent many years working in London, Jamaica and around Europe engineering, mixing and producing for many of my musical heroes, eventually focusing on writing and production.
After the birth of my first child, I found myself less than impressed with the music sessions I took her to, I just found them patronising and uninspiring. At the same time I was invited to run some music sessions for young children by an old friend. I had previously taught music technology to teenagers, but had never taught such young children. That was 15 years ago, and what an incredible journey it has been. I have always had a natural affinity with children, probably because of my immense maturity! I know how lucky I am to get to share the joy and fun that music brings into so many lives.
On this musical journey I have also learnt so much. I’ve found my singing voice (I actually believe that if you can talk you can sing. I may not be Pavarotti, but it seems to work!), started playing guitar and discovered how much fun writing songs and music for children is. There are also so many great artists and organisations that make music for children, some of whom I will be sharing with you.
I have worked for many Sure Start/Children Centres, Nurseries, Schools and Early Years’ environments in Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Islington and other parts of the country.
I view my sessions like mini concerts, with the audience sharing the stage! I think the passion and energy I have for music is contagious and one of my wonderful testimonials told me “you take the fear out of music making with children”.
I believe passionately that the lack of a co-ordinated programme of music in schools, particularly in EYFS is such a missed learning opportunity. I would love to share and build my knowledge and skills with as many teachers, parents and children as possible.
But its not about me, it’s about the music, and playing it and the importance of incorporating its power in our lives. Everyday. For life.