Diana Flynn'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 -

    Your age:

    - 45 -

    The year in which you left school:

    - 1985 -

  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):

    - 7 -

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

    - O Level -

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

    - Recorder age 8-10; violin aged 10-14; piano 11-17; double bass 16; oboe 18-19; clarinet 28-29; fiddle 42 to present. -

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

    - Grade 5 piano, grade 5 theory, grade 2 violin, grade 3 double bass. -

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

    - No. -

    Other musical study (give details):

    - Attend glasgow fiddle workshop (GFW) (last 4 years). -

  3. Please give a brief description of your current involvement in music:

    - Learning fiddle in a group (GFW) and individual lessons and in the pub at Monday evening 'sessions'; play piano occasionally at home; play recorder occasionally; learning whistle (self taught). Annual folk weekends and fiddle courses. -

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

    - Email from Alison Diamond. -

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?

    - My dad played records of organ music and Handel and beethoven. This helped cultuivate an awareness of classical music, but was very limited. i also went to a high church with a goood choir and heard a lot of church music. -

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

    - Juniors: excellent but strict music teacher in junior school. Taught us to listen ot opera arias, we had a great school orchestra. The worst thing was watching the kids who'd had private lessons - they played so much better than those of us who learned in groups at school. We did country dancing and listened to english folk and church music and a whole variety of classical and fun music. I was told I wasn't good at singing and it coloured me for the rest of my life so far, i am still afraid to sing. -

    - Secondary: we performed Brittan's Noyes Ark. I also did music O level and we did musicals but i didn't sing. I played in the orchestra. funnily I did suing at hte Royal Albert Hall with Sir Petert maxwell davis conductoing one of his own pieces when I was in the Barnet Schools choir. remember nothing else about being in the choir, exceot trying not to sing! i was also not allowed to learn a woodwind instrument which I most wanted becasue I'd already started the violin - all that was available in junoir school. I was devastated. -

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

    - My Mother - told me I should learn the violin but then told me Isounded awful when I practised, so I didn't. She also didn't let me practise piano very much, so I never made very good progress. I would have practised it for hours.

    - My violin teacher - he tried but not much good if you don't practise, but he is the reason I went back to it. -

    - My Dad - introduced me to classical music. -

    - Above all my junoir school music teacher for introducing us to so many different types of music and taking us to concerts at the BBC and the opera. he opeend my eyes to Ravel and other composers I'd never have heard of. -

    - Friends who also played. -

    - The Glasgow Fiddle workshop for allowing me to continue doing fun musci. in fact the folk scene in Scotland is amazing, everyone seems to play music up here. -

    - In the G & S Society I was quickly successful in auditions, and several performers, and the accompanist there, gave me a substantial amount of support and encouragement. Later I was encouraged to play the piano at some of the rehearsals, which led to work as an accompanist with other societies. -

    - Instrumental and vocal teachers at University also (and afterwards) gave me a great deal of support and encouragement over the years. My University voice teacher made sure that she taught me how to teach as she recognised that singing careers don't last forever, and I am very grateful for ther recognition of this, and of the skills she gave me. My postgraduate teachers similarly helped me to add to my skills as a performer and teacher, and encouraged me to teach as well as perform so that I always had an income. All of these people have not only been influential in my musical behaviour and development, but also helped me to become a musician in a way that could not have happened if I had relied on support from home. -

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

    - Restarting the fiddle watching my children start fiddle lessons and join the cathedral choir. it means even tho i am not very good I have been able to help them practise and I understand a bit about music and can read it.

    Going to see tristan and Isolde at the Royal Opera House. -

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

    - So many. i wish my parents had been more encouraging, wish i could hvae learned the clarinet at 2 or even younger, and could hvae had a better piano teacher and room to practise. -

  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.

    - Learning to read music and follow a score has had a huge impact on my life. I cannot imagine how much I would have missed out on if I had not had the opportunities I had. I cannot believe that all children are not given this opportunity - at the age of 6 or 7 when they are learning to read it would be so easy to add this in, another language really. Music is essential. -