"In September this year an e-mail landed in my inbox from Manchester Camerata inviting sponsorship and support of their musical education programme. As a company director, and part-time amateur musician I felt that it was long overdue for me to help others experience the same joy in music that I did as I was growing up.
Music has always been a huge part of my life, and I first began to play the piano as a young child. However the moment I set eyes on the saxophone I knew I had to have one, and to this day it remains my favourite instrument. I was hugely fortunate to benefit from local authority funded music lessons and one-to-one tuition provided by excellent peripatetic teachers. I firmly believe that the musical education I received as a child has continued to benefit me in my later career, teaching me self-discipline, patience and the will to persevere when if at first it doesn’t go quite right. (Eb minor melodic anyone?!)
As part of my musical education I also spent countless happy hours playing with local and regional ensembles, learning many different types of music and the joy of playing and creating music with others. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being part of a successful orchestra or band when the audience applauds, and the sense of unity and togetherness experienced in a good orchestra just can’t be described. These experiences are something that everyone should be fortunate enough to enjoy at least once.
This is why I firmly believe that scaling-back musical education is a misguided and short-term cost-cutting exercise that will have long-term adverse implications. Music brings joy to so many people, and too many adults look back wistfully, wishing that they had learned to play an instrument when they were younger. Not helping children learn a musical instrument today is a missed opportunity that will later become a regret."