Hello. My name is Jeremy and I am rapidly approaching my 57th birthday (how did that happen?). I have four children, my oldest daughter - Becky - is 33 and my youngest son - Sebastian - is 13 (how did THAT happen!). I have two grandchildren, Cody is three and Eliza was one just two weeks ago.
Why am I telling you this? My job is Director of Warwickshire Music, but that’s not what I am. What I am and what I believe is defined by my circumstances and my experience. What I believe is that my children and grandchildren deserve an education at least as good as mine; and hopefully better.
As I look back over an increasingly long time span to my primary school education I have to confess that it was rather bland. I have very few vivid memories from that time. One clear memory I do have is sitting in assembly and listening to one of the teachers playing the euphonium. He played in a local brass band and his performance clearly had a big influence on me.
There was no opportunity to learn an instrument in my primary school but there was when I went to secondary school. There was one instrument in the music cupboard - a rather battered old trumpet. So I took that and starting playing... and now I can look back on a kaleidoscope of vivid memories based around my musical experiences. I remember my first concert as if it was yesterday. I was terrified and am sure that I didn't play a note because my mouth dried up and I couldn't blow!
Although this perhaps is not a positive memory it was certainly a highly influential one and led to many more positive and pleasant memories to look back on.
We all understand the value of memorable learning; learning that is embedded because it is based on an emotional response. I believe passionately in the power of music to create memorable learning that can influence a child for the rest of their life.
I have never talked to any colleague in schools who did not value music and the arts. I have spoken to many colleagues who are finding it increasingly challenging to give children the range of opportunities they deserve; and all too often it is music and the arts that have to disappear from a child's experience at school.
Emotional learning embeds memorable learning. If young people are to become fully rounded adults they need a range of memorable experiences that will allow them to grow and develop; that will give them a richness of understanding and will give them wisdom and insight. This is why music and the arts are so important.