My Incredible Journey
Sam was a quiet but curious young lad. He had his first musical experience at the age of 6 when his school hosted a term-long creative music making project. The project focussed on bringing together Early Years singing, rhythm work (through untuned percussion) and composition.
Sam showed an aptitude for all the activities and began to develop a good ear. His class teacher was also enthused by the project and requested in-service support through Sing Up, ultimately using her training to make sure that her class continued to sing almost every day alongside the delivery of the National Curriculum.
When Sam was nine, his class attended a workshop all about woodwind and brass instruments where they got to hear all the different instruments. The workshop was led by players from the local professional orchestra. Sam was immediately drawn to the saxophone. At the end of the workshop, the class found out that they were going to be taking part in a year-long full class band project. This project, alongside delivery of the National Curriculum, ensured that Sam developed a broad contextual understanding of music and turned him into an enthusiastic performer and attentive listener.
Having chosen the saxophone, Sam concentrated well in class, although he found it hard to practise on his own at home. 'I like to play with my friends; it's kind of boring on your own.' The highlight of the year was going to see the players from their introductory workshop perform a young person's concert in the local Town Hall: 'It was amazing to hear them all play together - all the different sounds were amazing.'
In his first year of playing, Sam developed good technical and musical skills. Many of the skills he learnt in music helped him to improve his academic studies too and he found it easier to focus and apply himself to tasks. Seeing this improvement, his parents hired him a saxophone and paid for him to continue his tuition at school in small groups.
At age 13, Sam was doing well and he entered for his Grade 4 saxophone and attended the local Hub Saturday Music Centre where he got the chance to play in a band with other young people. He also began to play in the Junior Symphony Orchestra. The National Curriculum in School at Key Stage 3 provided him with a broader awareness of music, its genres and cultures.
Although Sam has decided that he doesn't want to pursue music as a career, he is keen to have it in his life. Developing his skills has allowed him to take part in the local Jazz Band and Big Band as well as the Hub Symphony Orchestra.
At 17, he took the opportunity to participate in a series of Jazz improvisation and composition workshops offered on week nights and this continued to broaden his skills and expertise in music. The workshops concluded in a gala performance where participants performed alongside their professional tutors and mentors. Sam also submitted his university applications aspiring to a career in science.
'Now that I am at university, I look back at my early years and appreciate how my involvement in music not only enriched my creative but academic developmen; I am so glad that music gave me a focus and taught me the discipline that I needed to succeed in any area of my life. Music has also enhanced my social life giving me opportunities to meet and work confidently with new people; I have made many friends that I hope I will know for the rest of my life.
'I still play in the university Big Band and now and then with the symphony orchestra, although I enjoy most of all gigging with my blues quartet at dinner dances and events in the town; it's far better than working in a supermarket to put some extra money in my pocket. Music will always be a central part of my life.'