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 -
- 56 -
The year in which you left school:
- 1974 -
- 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):
- Aged 7-16 -
School exams in music (e.g. O Level, GCSE):
- None -
Instrumental / vocal lessons (e.g. piano from aged 9 to 15):
- Violin aged 8-17; piano aged 9-12. -
Instrumental / vocal exams (e.g. Grade 5 trumpet aged 14):
- Violin grade 5, 6, 7. -
Music at college / university (e.g. music degree at York):
- None. -
Other musical study (give details):
- Intermittent blocks of vioin lessons as an adult. -
- Please give a brief description of your current involvement in music:
- Associate Lecturer in Music Education, Edge Hill University North West Representative for NAME - the National Association of Music Educators Member of the flute ensemble - Tooti Flooti Principal Flute - Bolton Chamber Orchestra. -
- Please tell me where you heard about this research project:
- Email. -
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?
- Light music radio station usually playing; Occasional record played of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Beethoven; Radio 1 not aprroved of. No idea if any of this was an influence. -
- What are your memories of school music? (These might include people, activities, opportunities…)
- Played recorder in primary school and primary teachers all played piano which was wheeled into classroom as need
arose; we had to line up and maarch in and out of school to Sousa's Liberty Bell or Strauss Radetsky March played
on gramophone on landing. -
- Main opportunity was due to very enlightened Council Musical Director who instituted group lessons in schools, for those with 'musical aptitude' - from P4, 8 in a class for a half-hour lesson every day on instruments owned by the school. -
- Schools grouped geographically into x2 violin, viola and cello and in P7, the violin/viola school learners took the instruments to the cello school for a string orchestra (in days when children were allowed to walk around/cross roads/be responsible).
In senior school, there was a regional orchestra, level 1 and 2; lessons became individual. -
- Who has been influential on your musical behaviour at various stages of your life?
- My mother, who made me practise and wouldn't let me give up, and who made me go to Regional Schools Orchestra. -
- Donald Runnicles, who started his own orchestra to be a conductor, with whom I played/helped run orchestra aged 14-18. This got me involved in music as fun rather than a chore. -
- Neil Mantle, whose amateur orchestra I've played in since 1977. -
- Friends with whom I've played duos/quartets over the years. -
- What have been the highlights of your musical life history so far?
- Playing scratch 'performances' of The Ring over a 4 year cycle (twice). -
- Fund-raising (benefit) concerts internationally since 1997. -
- Playing Chamber Music in a monastery in the south of France. -
- Taking my sleeping 3 week old to orchestra rehearsals till she got to about 6 months and started to wake up with the noise. -
- Probably many more but I cann't remember them. -
- Do you have any regrets about missed opportunities in music?
- Some lessons in fiddle playing, attendance at summer schools and workshops. -
- Please add any final comments below on the process of telling your musical life history, or any other details that you feel you've missed out of your account so far.
- I'm a doctor. I wanted to be one from age 12 so I had to do science at school, and (obviously) medicine at university. but throughout that, I've always played, even if sometimes only once every couple of weeks, when I've been SO tired after a night or weekend on call. But it was worth it to be able to enjoy all the playing opportunities I now have, now that I am older and with more time. And I think it kept me sane. And maybe when I retire I will do the theoretical bit I wasn't able to do at school/uni.. -