When I was seven my primary school music teacher, Mrs Russell, very wisely gave me a recorder. I LOVED that recorder! My heart had never been happier. I played it a lot…in fact I never stopped playing it! I learnt to play the songs in my primary music class, I learnt to play along to the radio, and I made up songs of my own. That little beige Yamaha was my absolute pride and joy and it came with me EVERYWHERE! I tooted it in the house, I tooted it in the bath, I tooted it in the toilet, and I played it A LOT in our backyard. The latter was largely at my mother’s suggestion, which in hindsight was a very wise way of getting me out of the house because I was driving her insane with my playing.
One of my mother’s friends was a lady who wanted to give everything a go. You know the type: one week it’s horseriding, the next it’s skiing, the following it’s watercolours. In her case, playing the flute seemed like a particularly good idea one week. So without much more consideration, she purchased a flute and then a term’s worth of lessons. However, after the second lesson she decided that it absolutely was NOT for her.
During a visit to our home shortly after, and having seen how crazy I was making everyone with my recorder playing, she generously offered the classes and instrument to me. I WAS THRILLED!
Finally I had a very grown up and ‘proper’ instrument; the flute and special music lessons, with a lovely lady named Kate, were all mine.
What happened next was not as I imagined however. Let’s just say I did not take to the flute like a duck to water. In fact I couldn’t make a sound. Not a single note. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. I practiced a lot, patiently blowing for what felt like hours and yet accomplished zero noise – just a whole lot of dizzy feelings. In fact I huffed and puffed for the best part of two weeks, until voila! I DID IT! My stubbornness had worked! And then again and again, until in no time at all I was playing songs. I adored this flute and continue to play it to this day.
My musical journey changed and developed as I grew up but I am forever grateful to the dear Mrs. Russell for encouraging this pathway. Unfortunately I have sadly failed to track her down to thank her for opening my eyes to the wonderful world of music. As a music teacher myself now, I know that I would absolutely love to meet an adult whose life had been positively transformed because of my teachings. So, Mrs. Russell, if you’re out there and reading this, please get in contact so I can show you my appreciation!
Written by Jo Johnson on behalf of Julie Murray