Story submitted, August 2012.
Some background information
- So that I can compare responses between countries and across generations, please give me the following background information on when and where you went to school.
- Scottish -
The country in which you went to school:
- Scotland -
The year in which you left school:
- 1992 -
- I also need some information on your formal music education (if you had one), so please give details below of any lessons or qualifications in music that you have taken. You will have chance to expand on these answers later, so brief details are fine at this stage.
Years of classroom music in school (e.g. aged 5-14):
- Jun 17 -
School exams in music (e.g. O Level, GCSE):
- Higher Music -
Instrumental / vocal lessons (e.g. piano from aged 9 to 15):
- Recorder, piano and flute. -
Instrumental / vocal exams (e.g. Grade 5 trumpet aged 14):
- Grade 8 recorder, LTCL Recorder, Grade 6 piano, Grade 5 flute. -
Music at college / university (e.g. music degree at York):
- 1 year music. -
- Please give a brief description of your current involvement in music:
- Playing recorder in a chamber recorder orchestra, writing music for recorder ensemble, chair of local branch of the Society of Recorder Players, a limited amount of solo playing for pleasure. -
- Please tell me where you heard about this research project:
- Email from work colleague. -
Thank you for those details. The rest of the questionnaire is more open-ended: there are five prompts about home background, school experiences, influential people, highlights and regrets, and you can use those to tell your story in whatever way makes sense to you.
Please answer in as much detail as you feel able to, focusing on those questions which are most relevant to you, and giving specific memories and examples whenever you can.
Life history prompts
- What kind of music was going on in your home as a child? How influential do you think this was in your development?
- Violin aged 8-17; piano aged 9-12. -
- What are your memories of school music? (These might include people, activities, opportunities…)
- At school, music was a pretty dull affair until I got to 'O Grade' stage (3rd year in secondary school). Lots of listening, very little practical music making. -
- I got private tuition on the recorder from age 6, which was done in a group setting. I remember feeling lost for about 2 months, and then figuring out how it all worked from page to fingers, and after that there was no stopping me. Completely different from school, because we were playing and making *good* sounds. -
- Who has been influential on your musical behaviour at various stages of your life?
- My mother, who wanted me to get the musical training she wanted but never had. -
- My first recorder teacher who introduced me to all sorts of different pieces, and the different sizes of the instrument, and to group playing. -
- My Higher Music teacher who taught me harmony, and tried to explain counterpoint to me. -
- My 3rd recorder teacher who showed me that vibrato is a decoration to be used sparingly, not lathered all over a piece. -
- My drummer friend, who showed me that rules in music are for breaking (or at the very least, bending them completely out of shape!) . -
- What have been the highlights of your musical life history so far?
- Winning my class at the first competition festival I entered. -
- Being examined by Colin Hand for my Grade 7 exam and seeing him move appreciatively to my playing. Getting distinction in my Grade 8 exam. Passing my LTCL. -
- Writing my first original piece at school (on an electronic keyboard). -
- Writing music with my drummer friend, frequently into the wee small hours of the morning. -
- Going into the recording studio to make the first demo with the only serious band I was ever in (I played keyboard). -
- Playing gigs down in London, and at the Whitby Goth Festival with that band. -
- Writing my first arrangement of heavy metal for recorder (Breakin the Law, by Judas Priest). -
- Writing my first piece for recorder ensemble, and later playing it live at the Scottish Recorder Festival with the Chamber Recorder Orchestra that I am in. -
- Do you have any regrets about missed opportunities in music?
- BA (Music Education) RSAMD Glasgow, BMus Glasgow University, MLitt in Scottish, Studies and Ethnology, Edinburgh University. -