Nicky writes: How do I recollect my early musical experiences? My grandfather loved music and had a large collection of 78 records played on a scratchy old phonogram, and church and school both provided lots of opportunities to sing; in school mainly from ‘Time and Tune’, a BBC Schools Radio broadcast. I started learning to play the piano and later the cello; I continued to sing and aspired to a career in music; but there I hit a stumbling-block. I had to write Renaissance-style polyphony – but what was a mode? I had to notate melodies, harmonies and note-clusters but ended up surrounded by the pathetic remains of my eraser whilst the person next to me was writing in pen because they could ‘just do it’!
My first BKA Summer School was in 1996 and I was in Sarolta Platthy’s group. The ‘light bulb moments’ could have illuminated the room. Not only that, the structure of the lesson, with its own beauty and logic, allowed us all to succeed. At last I realised that it wasn’t a question of some innate ability that I lacked, but that I could learn the language of music too. And what about my own teaching? It had to change! I wanted to learn more about Kodály’s Philosophy of Music Education; I wanted to improve my own skills and to be able to teach others in the same way. Since that first Summer School I have learned so much from many wonderful Hungarian and British teachers, both in the UK and in Hungary and have come to work as a BKA tutor. I also work as an Advisory Teacher and Course Leader for The Voices Foundation and serve on the Yorkshire Regional Committee for ABCD. Once started, it’s an ongoing and lifelong process!