The Long Road to Music Education

Blog by Neil Southgate

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The moment I decided to pursue a career in teaching music was the moment I turned my hobby into a profession. 

 ‘Do what you love doing,’ is an often spoke phrase.  Sometimes it feels like a bit of a throwaway comment because what you love might not practically be something you can monetise.  We all need to make a living and life events do not always allow us to fulfil every possibility of our short existence. 

 Nevertheless, being happy in what you do is extremely important.  Not only is it important for your own wellbeing, how you act and behave reflects onto other people.  If you feel unmotivated inside, you might be surprised by how this is experienced by others. 

 After university, where I studied music, I did not have the foggiest idea what I wanted to do or become.  Many people know when they are young but for me, my journey was a much longer path.  I studied music because I enjoyed it and was waiting for that lightbulb moment’ that never quite arrived.  Personal events mixed with poor health had sadly left a sour taste in my musical journey and it was a long time before times sweetened and I was able to move forward. 

 So, I entered what every great musician does and started work in my local council and started an office job.  Several years flicked by without notice and, while content, I did not wake up with any excitement.  While I enjoy procrastinating as much as the next person, I started to feel like farther time was not only ticking but also falling asleep waiting for me to act!   

 I moved around several locations and several jobs, my health issues had passed, and my taste had returned.   One day, I dusted off my trumpet and decided to play it.  I cannot say I was as good as I was before, in fact, I was quite terrible – it was not the result that was important, it was the doing.  The next day, I gave the instrument another blow.  The day following, I did it again, and before long I was playing regularly and really ‘getting a buzz’ from the process (please forgive the pun) 

 Although I had not been doing jobs related to music, every single role I had held involved helping people; inspiring people to do better, to battle against impoverishment, to move forward in their lives.  I enjoyed this aspect of the work though was a little bored (to say the least) of the grinding mill. 

 I began to think about what had inspired me when I was younger, and music was on that list.  I thought, what better place than to positively influence peoples’ lives, to help individuals gain confidence in themselves and help them make their own decisions than to entire the sphere of child education.  Music education was always much more to me than just learning an instrument – it was learning and developing the skills of life in all situations, to give me the resilience to be an adult and operate in the ‘real’ world. 

 It was then I decided to become a music teacher.  

 To cut a very long story short, I began teaching concurrent to my existing jobs and slowly managed to get to a level where I no longer required the original role.   I now work privately, in and outside of schools, for adults and children, run ensembles, tours and activities, perform regularly, all with the help of Hot House Music.  Father time is now looking at me happy and, much more importantly, I am to.  I hope this is reflected by the students I now teach.  


If you would like to start your musical journey with us, call: 03303 200 880 for a friendly chat with Anna!

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