So this past fortnight on saturday, I was at a contest with my brass band at bulins skegness playing fire in the blood in our first contest since promotion into the 2nd section. Considering it was our first contest since promotion and at a wide field of bands from all areas, we played very well and got a very respectable result of 19th.
It got me thinking about how learning about music and how to play an instrument really has changed my life for the better. It’s amazing how something as simple as learning how to play an instrument and make music can change somebodys life for the better. I’ll be honest, my early childhood and first few years at school where not in the best of starts. Due to various things which happend in early childhood and not acutally speaking until i was 3, I needed a lot of support when i started school. . During this time, I had interactions with music as my parents would always have music on all the time and i would attend a pre school music group which i enjoyed as well as singing being a part of my playgroup i went to. The biggest thing which captivated me would be listening to the salvation army brass bands when the would play carols at christmas time in the streets of norwich which i adored! Back to school. I started first school and i had support from a teaching assistant when i started reception to the end of year 5 as part of the ways to help me with my education. I started later than i should have and although my parents wanted to pull me back a year because of that, the headteacher sad i would develop best by staying with my year group. I was not very cleaver at all. Although i liked reading, i struggled with everything else so i needed a lot of support compared to the other kids in my class.
During this period, I was forced by my parents to sing in the school chior which i did not enjoy as well as learning to play the recorderd as most kids learn in year 2 and the ocarina in year 3. I was involved in all of the christmas plays which my first and middle school did which i loved doing. When i moved over to the middle school i had the chance to learn an instrument in year 5. I grasped this opportunity immediately and after thinking about it, I decided that i wanted to learn a brass instrument. Why you may ask???? Well, because I thought the theme tune to coronation street was cool as it was on a trumpet which sounded awesome. Part of it as well i think was from having on segement a week in middle school where we would have music learning lots of different stuff which i loved. I nearly decided before choosing to learn brass to learn how to play the clarinet. I really don’t know why though but i soon had sense to ask to have brass lessons. My parents where supportive and where glad it was not strings!!!
I started lessons on the tenor horn during year 5 and loved it. I was in the middle school orchestera which was so much fun and i had a nice teacher. After going onto high school, i continued learning and i joined the local youth brass band which was lots of fun. My high school had a great music department where i got fully imersed in the music groups, especially the brass ensemble and brass band and also loved the music lessons we’d have as a class. During year 9, the head of music choose certain good musicians to attend an fast track music group once a week where we would learn stuff and prepare for gcse music which was great fun. When it came to gcse’s, i very nearly choose graphic design because i thought it looked fun because i’ve always loved graphic design instead of music even though i am bad at art and technical stuff but i had sense and choose music in the end. I wouldn’t have got a good mark in it at all had i chosen it. By the end of year 9, I had already achived my grade 5 horn.
GCSE music was the most fun i had for 2 years!!!!! Although we did do work on the theory side and the pratical side with the composing and performance, there was a lot of mucking about due to the pratical natuare of it. We where also very close friends as a group of musicians. In year 11, I had to choose what to do for a levels and as well as applying for the btec music at city college as a backup incase i mucked up badly, i choose to do music and music technology a levels as well as ict at my first choice and photography at my second choice. By the end of year 11, i had achived my grade 6 horn having switched exam boards so i could avoid doing theory (or so i thought)…….
During this time, I left my youth band after getting a invatition to join my first adult band on solo horn. It was a non compeating band who taught me a lot and i am forever grateful for them giving a shy 16 year old the chance to join on solo horn after wanting to join an adult band for a while. I also joined the famous youth band of the worlds most famous colliery band after seeing them live in norwich. I had a fantastic 3 years with them and learnt loads from some legendary players and conductors
I got into my first choice sixth form which was at my high school and i continued with the music a level as well as picking up music technolgy a level. I brought my macbook during this time which went i could get logic and musescore and do far more at home instead of only creating music at school. They where so much fun and my playing and composition technique improved a lot. My two classes where brilliant and i made some brilliant freiends who i am still with contact with. Most of us are studying music of some sort. Although i had to have major thyroid surgery in january 2014 which stopped my playing temporaily as well as bringing on my hypocalcemia starting afterwards, I managed to get my grade 7 horn with distinction by the end of year 13!
After my a levels, due to health stuff happening, i withdrew my uni application for 2014 entry and decided to reapply for 2015 entry to study music. During this time, i focused on improving my musical output by upgrading logic and purchasing sibelius to further my home creative output. I also somehow managed to get my grade 5 theory and also got my grade 8 horn!!! I got into all of my choices and now studying at anglia ruskin which i do not regret at all!
With regards to the performance side I joined my current band after being headhunted to fill a vacancie on first horn before it was even adertised. I however got unexpectdly promoted to cover solo horn for the area and have been there ever since developing a reputation as a good soloist. I’m so glad that i can still play with them now even though i’m studying in cambridge.
I wonder what would have happend if i had not choosen to learn an instrument. Would i have even got a levels or go to university. Proberly not……..
Before i go, i’ll embed a link to my soundcloud and last fm profiles so you can here the music i am making and listening to 🙂
<a class=”embedly-card” href=”http://www.last.fm/user/A_Leveridge”>A_Leveridge’s Music Profile – Users at Last.fm</a>