Message to my Daughter

“I am looking at my 18 year daughter, who is talking about student finance and London accommodation, who has a few months left at home before taking up an offer of a full scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music to study trumpet. Like so many parents, I am wondering how we got to this, how was I holding your hand to cross the road one minute, and now you are metaphorically holding mine as we negotiate the traffic of your new life?

The musical side of this question is maybe easier to answer.

When you were 7 or 8, we became aware of Jackdaws Music Education Trust. They came to your school with real-life opera singers, and you came home and told me about the massive voices that the singers had, all in your school hall, and all without microphones, and you were excited.

We looked up Jackdaws, and found out they had a Friday music club, and you were a bit young, but they said you could go. There were biscuits, and different people came in and did different music every week, and you were hooked. (I mean, there were biscuits!)

Here was a place where you met other children who loved music, and it wasn’t ‘weird’ but just a normal part of growing up. It seemed to me to be something missing from everyday school life and I am sad about that, but glad for us that you had Jackdaws. It was a place where “musicking” (Christopher Small) happened, and you came across all sorts of people that “musicked” as part of their every day life, and that meant it became part of an option for you. The sheer range has been amazing – luthiers, oboists, violinists, composers, from baroque to jazz, making you play in amazing ensembles; playing with all sorts of other people, other instruments and in other styles opening up the musical experience, and it was this environment that made you aware that being a musician was a possibility.

You have done lots of Jackdaws projects over the last ten years, and only missed the last summer production because you got a place in the National Youth Orchestra and were preparing for a concert at the Proms in the Albert Hall.

As you prepare for this next stage at the Royal Academy, you are wondering what will happen after you leave. There is talk of a solo career, work in orchestras, pit work and teaching and Jackdaws comes up as you say you hope to come back as a teacher.

I truly believe that Jackdaws has been instrumental in opening up the possibilities of a lifetime of music for my daughter through contact with so many professional musicians and through so many inspiring projects and workshops, from that initial outreach into a local school, nurturing her musicking right through to this point in her life.

Her younger brothers have both been part of Jackdaws too, one who also wants to go on and be a professional musician, and the other who enjoys it immensely but isn’t looking to make a career of it. For both of them, along with countless others, Jackdaws is the musical foundation for life”
– KA, Mum

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