Back in the 80's when I was a wee snapper, I began to learn the ever-so-trendy Electone (electronic organ). My childhood in music was characterised by floppy disks of retro sounds and beats and a desire to be able to double pedal like my heroes.
I have two strong musical memories from my early childhood:
1) The first is of curtseying over and over at a performance event (possibly my first), aged 5, enlivened by the applause I'd just received for a no doubt truthful interpretation of Three Blind Mice or something similar. That day a performer was born.
2) I also remember practising one autumnal afternoon, aged 7, thrashing at the organ stool with a mini-tantrum about to unfold: "I CAN'T DO THIS!" Luckily my mother, fearing for everyone's well-being at the time said, "Promise me that you'll stop for the moment, give it a rest and come back to it tomorrow." Luckily I did, and I persevered.
Perseverance and a passion for sharing my love of music have been underlying themes over the years. Luckily I moved on from the organ onto other instruments. I spent a good part of my teens and early twenties practising the oboe and cor anglais, aiming to perfect my technique and musicianship. I was going to be a star performer on the concert platforms of the world, touring in world-class orchestras and chamber ensembles.
However, I realised in my mid-twenties that something was missing. I wasn't sharing my joy for music-making with others, at least not in a way that was meaningful to me. I needed to find a career in which I could achieve this, where I could be creative and where I could interact with and learn alongside others.
I am lucky to have found that career; it has been a challenging yet enriching journey. In some senses I have become a jack-of-all-trades, ready to adapt my musical and inter-personal communication with others as the context requires, ready to pick up a drum or a microphone if that is what the musical situation needs. Every day that I work and learn alongside diverse groups of people in ever-changing contexts, I am inspired by their willingness to embrace that joy of music, to persevere as they learn and apply new skills and to 'leap off the cliff', trusting that we will journey confidently together as we learn and co-create.