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In the beginning

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.

The Instruments

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.

Cor Anglais
Advanced Certificate - B/B
Clarinet Grade 8 with distinction
Flute No grades obtained, but approx grade 7 standard
Piano Grade 2
Bodrhan This is an Irish drum, but I've yet to learn how to play it.
Classical Guitar
Treble Recorder

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.

Playing and performing

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
Creation Haydn 1st Oboe
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.

Date Grade Instrument Results
06/1979 1 Theory of Music 77/99
06/1979 4 Clarinet Pass
11/1979 2 Theory of Music 74/99
06/1980 5 Clarinet Merit
11/1984 8 Clarinet Distinction
11/1992 4 Oboe Distinction
11/1992 5 Theory of Music Distinction
06/1993 6 Oboe Distinction
06/1994 4 Flute Distinction
06/1994 8 Oboe Merit
03/1995 2 Piano 74/99
03/1995 6 Theory of Music Distinction
06/1995 Advanced Oboe B/B

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