Catherine Preston's Story


Story submitted, August 2012.


Some background information

  1. 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.

    Your nationality:

    - British -

    The country in which you went to school:

    - England -

    The year in which you left school:

    - 1970 -

  2. 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):

    - 9 -

    School exams in music (e.g. O Level, GCSE):

    - O Level-

    Instrumental / vocal lessons (e.g. piano from aged 9 to 15):

    - Recorder, violin, piano, flute. -

    Instrumental / vocal exams (e.g. Grade 5 trumpet aged 14):

    - Grade 4 piano aged 14, Grade 8 flute aged 16 -

    Music at college / university (e.g. music degree at York):

    - Music at College, Music Degree (with Humanities) The Open University. -

    Other musical study (give details):

    - MSc Music Psychology (Keele University) Doctorate in Education (The Open University) Flow in the Music Classroom. -

  3. 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. -

  4. Please tell me where you heard about this research project:

    - From the researcher, Stephanie Pitts. -

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

  1. What kind of music was going on in your home as a child? How influential do you think this was in your development?

    - Not much music at home apart from the radio - parents didn't play music but encouraged me learn as much as I could A real turning point was when someone gave me a piano and some music when I was around 7 - I taught myself to play and pestered my mum for lessons until she gave in. I went a brass band rehearsal with my grandfather when I was 8 - this had a profound effect on me and inspired me to want to play an instrument. -

  2. What are your memories of school music? (These might include people, activities, opportunities…)

    - Catholic primary school in Hull - lots of opportunities to play and sing every day as soon as I started school. Sister Mary Austin was the music teacher and she taught us all to play the recorder and read music in reception class. -

    - Went on to have violin lessons for a couple of years - again taught by Sister Mary Austin She ran the school recorder group and we were able to play all the recorders in the consort. We performed regularly in school and in the Hull Music Festival. -

  3. Who has been influential on your musical behaviour at various stages of your life?

    - Primary school - Sister Mary Austin Secondary school - music teacher Mr Turner - taught me about harmony Started playing the flute whilst at secondary School - teacher Angus Hardy. He taught me for 4 years and introduced me a to a wide range of flute repertoire. More recently - colleagues in the flute ensemble I play with. -

  4. What have been the highlights of your musical life history so far?

    - Probably worth noting that music has played a big part in my intellectual as well as emotional life, and that it's been the been my main source of income for all my adult years. -

  5. Do you have any regrets about missed opportunities in music?

    - Not now - I used to regret not getting into one of the conservatoires but have been able to continue playing (and practising!) throughout my adult life. -

  6. 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.

    - (Sounds a bit of a cliche!) - most of my life has been involved in playing and teaching music and I have never considered doing anything else! -