It is all thanks to my schools, teachers and my parents that I am able to enjoy a career in music, which is why I am committed to supporting the next generation
Early days -
I remember my grandparents' piano, which they very kindly donated to my parents when I
was young. I used to "play" it (my way) and finally when I was 6 my parents found a teacher for me - (probably more for their sanity, I suspect) - and I was hooked!
Public performances on the piano began when I was 7, and then I had
the chance to learn the violin at school, which I absolutely loved (I'm not sure that the rest of the family were convinced, and the dog certainly wasn't; he used to put his nose in the air and howl - I fear out of pain rather than pleasure). However, my family
kindly endured it and I had a whale of a time at school playing in the school orchestra. Exams, concerts and competitive Music Festivals around the Midlands, followed, which were great fun and also provided wonderful experience (even though I still remember
being terrified by hearing applause when I was 7 - I thought the audience was complaining! I remember running for the door.....)
Fortunately things settled down and I am grateful for the invaluable experience of performing during my early years for
my career, which I have always divided between the Piano and the Viola.
The roles of a musician have extensive possibilities -
I was fortunate in being given the opportunity to combine both instruments
during my years in the Viola section of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, in Glasgow, playing as orchestral pianist and harpsichord continuo player, and also accompanying auditionees for the orchestra and vocal and instrumental soloists appearing
with the orchestra - it was just tremendous to play in the Viola section and be in the middle of the orchestra, surrounded by all the different instruments.
I also enjoyed playing with colleagues from the RSNO in the baroque ensemble "Cantilena",
the Scottish Piano Trio and the Allender Ensemble - we enjoyed recording commercially and for the BBC, both TV and Radio 3, and, as well as having concert series' in Glasgow, played in venues across Scotland and other parts of the UK, including the Cheltenham,
Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
In 1988 I left the RSNO, to enjoy being with my three lovely young children, and continued my career on a freelance basis. As a musician, it was scary at first to be away from the
consistent schedule of the orchestra, with guaranteed concerts, but also liberating to have to start to be proactive in creating opportunities! But all this was nothing at the side of the joy of being able to be with my children - and through them,
an opportunity arose that presented a new chapter of life and challenges to stretch me as a musician........
In the early 1990's, in Glasgow, there was a shortage of Youth Theatre opportunities, and I became involved with Youth Theatre in 1993,
working as Musical Director with Patchwork Youth Theatre until 2002, and Kaleidoscope Children's Theatre, its sister company, from 1998-2002. During those years we presented over 30 productions, varying from variety shows to pantomime and full-scale productions
of major musicals - though we were voluntary and non-profit, we ran the groups as if they were professional companies, and the performers' confidence and enjoyment were always the priority (combined with the best possible finish, of course!) We also toured
with Patchwork, the senior group, visiting theatres in Scotland and England, including Melton, Tewkesbury, Chesterfield and Welwyn, and going as far south as Harlow.
Performing took on a totally new dimension for me! I had to put my metronome
away and learn how to loosen up and jazz up a bit - my band were all graduates and students from the Conservatory of Scotland, and I will always be grateful to them for helping me with improvising!
- which continue
to develop -
Since 2002, and returning to Loughborough, freelance work combined with teaching has continued to develop, and new opportunities arising - all experiences to date are coming together with
new and exciting projects that are currently being developed - watch this space!
- to give enjoyment to audiences and pupils alike
But at the centre of all of my performing is the commitment to communicate
the composers' works (in a way that I hope they would approve) to the audience, for their enjoyment, as well as I can - and to support and encourage all my pupils to enjoy doing the same, whilst feeling confident and enjoying themselves
and having fun. After all, music is for sharing and enjoying together, regardless of age or place - it is no wonder it's called a universal language.