Music was always one of the things that I was drawn to because it felt special and magical. There wasn't an abundance of music in my early years at school, so every time we had a simple music lesson of group singing it felt like a reward for sitting through all the maths lessons. Maybe once a year, however, there was a classical duo who did a special hour-long assembly. They made silly jokes and stomped around in a way that captivated all our six year old attention – but they also showed us about these amazing instruments and played us fascinating music, and even played their own violins right there in our assembly hall. I obviously had known that musical instruments existed, but they had always seemed something complex and mysterious for grown-ups, and us children had to just sing or bang on saucepans. But now I was captivated, I had to get one!
As I continued to go through primary school I started to learn recorder and sing as much as I could (to the annoyance of pretty much everyone in my class), but pretty quickly I decided that I wanted to play a ‘real instrument’. (Sorry recorder players, I do think the recorder is a wonderful thing!). I don't even remember how my thoughts fell to the saxophone, but I think it was the curve of the bell and the ‘cool’ reputation it had that drew me in. Ironically enough, although the jazzy aesthetic of the saxophone initially attracted me I firmly found my real passion in classical saxophone! Financially, there would have been no way for me to pursue this idea had it not been for a series of unrelated events that led me to change schools to somewhere which ran several programmes for their upper primary years to rent musical instruments from the council and receive free lessons. Saxophone, here I come!
Since then, the rest just seemed so clear for me. Music was my passion and it never stopped feeling like that special, magical thing that I got to do. Every time I had a music class with my form or a saxophone lesson I was almost giddy that I got to skip away from the maths and science and P.E on our school timetables and be able to do something I was actually madly passionate about. It went far beyond liking a class because the teacher was nice, or I liked reading in English class, or because I could sit with my friends – it really felt like something that defined who I was. All the music teachers who taught me through high school and college were talented and dedicated musicians who recognised their own passion in me and my musical friends, and they did such a wonderful job of encouraging and inspiring us with every activity and ensemble they did with and for us. These people, amongst countless other things, also taught me that the value of music and positive musical influences in education must not be underestimated.
All of the highlights of my journey through music lie with the people I've worked, written, and played with. Throughout school and college it was moving from ensemble to ensemble and being able to pull off more and more complex and brilliant music as one part, big or small, of a group. When I play in an ensemble there's nearly always a feeling that the music we make is more than the sum of its parts – it's almost like a little bit of magic that falls in the air between us, and if there's anybody listening, it reaches them too (I hope). I've been chasing this feeling for years, and many of the highlights of my degree have been playing with the fabulous ensembles our university and its societies offer. The musical and personal experiences I've had so far will define my university experience for sure, and I'm only in my second year!
I can't say for sure where my degree will take me right now because there are so many more musical experiences I have yet to explore. But, I know from all I've learned and all the people I've worked with that I will use it to take me into a musical career where I can continue working with incredible musicians to spread that little bit of magic that music will always hold for me.
- Hannah Treacher, BA(hons) Music at the University of Nottingham