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These are just some of the ways that learning to play an instrument has changed someone’s life. After you’ve read these, why not tell us your story?


Sue, 63, School teacher

I remember a child who struggled with confidence. She was learning cello and she was quite a sensitive child and hadn’t been learning long when they had to do their little performance. You could tell she was really nervous. She started off and lost it but then she got it together and started again and got it right. All of the teachers were crying because it was just so moving! It was a real sense of achievement. She was so happy and got loads of applause. She was setting herself a challenge and doing it. Because she’d got through it she got a huge round of applause. It was really good for her. I don’t think she ever became a musician but it had a huge effect on her as a person. She was a child who you might think would go to pieces – she didn’t and that was quite different for her. It gave her confidence. It was a way of her learning that you can learn something new and it can go wrong and you can still achieve what you can achieve and it doesn’t matter what other people think.

There was another kid who was just messing around on the piano and someone mentioned him to the keyboard teacher from Music Services and asked him if he wanted a taster lesson. He turned out to be one of those people who can play naturally. Having the service in school you can pin point exactly who might benefit.

Brenda, 40, School teacher

Often music lessons bring increased confidence for children with special needs or English as a second language. I can think of one child who is on the autistic spectrum. His class was involved in the wider opportunities scheme so he was surrounded by noise and he just couldn’t cope - he had to cover his ears! But when it came to the euphonium he beamed and loved it and really enjoyed it. He played it and because he didn’t enjoy the others – the fact that he had lots to chose from and found one he liked - it made him realise he could actually like music.

Joe, 18

I’ve been learning the double bass and drums for seven years and the trumpet since I was eight. I can play the electric bass and keyboards too. I taught myself the piano. My family is just really musical – my mum’s classically trained and my dad’s a singer. I started on drums when I was really young and then went on to learn them at the Brighton and Hove Kinder Music Workshops when I was five. I play in Sussex Jazz and the concert band and I do session stuff in my spare time. What I really enjoy is the social side – meeting other people and seeing how they play. And I love the groove once you get on stage.

Ellie, 18

I’ve been playing the flute since year 7 and the violin since year 3. My family aren’t musical but I started because someone from the Music Service came to our school and played and I begged and begged my mum and dad to let me learn. I can still remember her name! I love playing with Brighton Youth Orchestra. When it all comes together it’s really nice and it sounds amazing. The excitement of playing and performing is what I love most. I’m not good enough to do it professionally but that doesn’t matter to me. I definitely want to carry on doing it as a hobby for as long as I can.