I suppose that my love of music first started when I was at Junior School, aged 10. I really wanted to play the oboe, but my parents could not afford to buy one. Instead they bought me a clarinet. So, I learned to play Clarinet and by the age of 16 I had passed my Grade 8 (with distinction). I studied Music 'O' Level, but did not go on to study 'A' level music because I wanted to do 'A' level Physics - and they were timetabled at the same time.
After school I mostly gave up playing. It is difficult to find a group to play in outside of school, so I had no reason to play. However, some years later I met up with my old clarinet teacher. He was trying to get a group together for beginners to join in. Most groups at that time required playing ability to be about grade 4+. I agreed to help out and so started playing Clarinet again. This made me realise just how much I liked music and playing. I still hankered after an oboe though.
I eventually got my first oboe at the age of 24. I quickly progressed and within a few months took my first exam - grade 4 - which I got with distinction. I was hooked. The following summer I took grade 6 and the next year I got my grade 8. I realised that I was quite good at music and playing and thought that I ought to do more with it. After much consideration I decided to give up work and go and study Music.
I really wanted to do a degree in Music. After ringing several universities I discovered that I really needed to have 'A' level music. So, I went to North Warwickshire & Hinckley College to study 'A' levels. I took Theoretical Music, Practical Music and Maths. At the time I wondered if I could fit all this in, but by the end of the first year wished I'd taken Physics as well. I applied to several universities and Sheffield became my first choice - conditional on my getting two B's. I achieved straight A's in all my results.
Sheffield University is a brilliant university (in my opinion anyway!). I really enjoyed my three years there, studying a BMus music degree. The first year I lived in Sheffield during the week, coming home every weekend. Years 2 and 3 I lived at home and commuted up. This made 9 am lectures interesting, as I had to get up at 4 am to get the train! Still, all this work and effort paid off. I passed my degree with first class honours.
Over the years I've collected a few instruments. Some of which I cannot play at all, but I just like to have them anyway! Here is a list of the instruments I have, together with highest achievement obtained where applicable. A full list of qualifications appears further down this page.
|Advanced Certificate - B/B|
|Clarinet||Grade 8 with distinction|
|Flute||No grades obtained, but approx grade 7 standard|
|Bodrhan||This is an Irish drum, but I've yet to learn how to play it.|
Of course, there are many more instruments I would like to learn to play, such as: crumhorn, bassoon, saxophone, orchestral percussion, etc, etc. I would like to attain higher standard on piano, too.
During my time at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College I played my various instruments in different groups:
I also sang in the College Choir, having, in previous years, sung with the Leicester Philharmonic Choir.
I have played many pieces, a few of them are listed here:
|Work played||Composer||Instrument used|
|Sarabande et Allegro||G Grovlez||Oboe|
|Sonate for Oboe and Piano||C Saint-Saens||Oboe|
|Six Metamorphoses After Ovid||Britten||Solo Oboe|
|Second movement of Clarinet Concerto||Mozart||Clarinet|
|First movement of Oboe Concerto||Mozart||Oboe|
|Come Ye Sons of Art||Purcell||Oboe and Voice|
|Patience||Gilbert & Sullivan||Oboe|
|Symphony No. 2||Beethoven||2nd Oboe|
|Symphony No. 5||Beethoven||1st Oboe|
|Symphony No. 6||Tchaikovsky||1st Oboe|
|Crown Imperial||Walton||1st Oboe|
|Unfinished Symphony||Schubert||1st Oboe|
|Symphony No. 39||Mozart||2nd Oboe|
|Plus many more!!|
Below is a full list of all the examinations I have taken on the various instruments.
|06/1979||1||Theory of Music||77/99|
|11/1979||2||Theory of Music||74/99|
|11/1992||5||Theory of Music||Distinction|
|03/1995||6||Theory of Music||Distinction|