Musical Me pt.2

I enjoyed Reading ‘Communities of Music Education ‘ by Jo Saunders and Graham Welch (

Honestly..I did read it all! .. It just so happens that one of the points raised that still resonate with me can be found in the opening paragraph. It’s regarding the concept of a ‘musical me’, that sees young people being able to develop a wider understanding and lived experience of musicality beyond the binary distinction of ‘musician’ and ‘non-musician’.

At High School I was da bomb! Anything to do with music, I was.. managing, leading, performing…Organising lunchtime rock concerts, figuring out how to bounce tracks on the Tascam porta-one 4track recorder…Playing ‘Annies Song’ and ‘The Entertainer’ at open name it! Voted most likely to succeed in the Music Industry, I went on into a career of sound engineering, music production and recording studio management.

One day at the studio, we were visited by 2 ‘big time’ record producers who were interested in using the facilities. To my great surprise, one of them was in the year above me at high school…I was perplexed..How did he?..when did he?..He hadn’t taken GCSE music (and got an ‘A’ grade), he hadn’t sat through days of Scott Joplin and The War of the Worlds..He’d never performed at open evening or fixed the Porta One power supply when Jonesy pulled it out of the wall socket too hard..He wasn’t voted most likely to succeed in music…He hadn’t paid his ‘dues’!!

If you put aside the ritual humiliation of vulnerable people in the early stages, the one thing I like about ‘Britain’s got Talent’, ‘BMG’s got the Xfactor’ and ‘Universal’s got  The Voice’,  is that they acknowledge that there’s potentially a ‘musical me’ in everyone.

Whether that’s violin virtuoso or just singing into a hairbrush to the ‘Grease’ soundtrack like my sister used to do, potentially everyone now gets a chance to succeed without having to spend years working the clubs, paying their dues.

The school-chum / successful record producer’s ‘musical me’ wasn’t interested in school music lessons…or concerts etc. His musical me was activated by his dad, following a conversation with a record executive who was washing his car. When he was at school, his ‘musical me’ was so small, I didn’t see it.

I heard the statistic that 80% of young people regard music as a ‘passion’

That’s great isn’t it? it gives us so much energy to work with. How many young people would regard ‘numeracy’ or ‘ biology’ or even ‘football’ as a ‘passion’?

It begs the question, If everyone has a ‘musical me’ and 80% have ‘passion’ why do things seem no further along than they were for… th…thir….thirty years ago?

What percentage of these young people with 'passion' take music as a GCSE option at school?...(seriously I don’t know, could somebody tell me please? thanks..)

It’s going to be less than it 40%?...30% then?

** Haha! I found the answer to this question after submiting my blog. I searched the internet and it brought me right back here! Apologies Matt, I enjoyed reading it at the time..forgot it.. and now here it is again helping me to understand a little about my experience. Royalties cheque in the post :) ** ** 



57 reads


Matt Griffiths's picture

Good stuff, many thanks Steve for your thoughts, pleased I could be of assistance - look forward to receiving the royalties cheque! Your post reinforces the need to better respond to young people's passion for their music and music making whereever it takes place. Appreciate your interest and insight in this. All the best, Matt

Dougie Lonie's picture

I think schools need to look beyond the curriculum and create opportunities for all pupils to get involved with music that suits and will expand their 'musical me'. I think that is difficult in the current National Curriculum, and a lot of young people don't see the relevance of music as a subject and would rather do it as recreation (an interesting homograph for music-making!). The young people Jo was talking to didn't see their out of school music as linked to their in-school music, which is interesting... I think there's an element of 'school/career me' and 'musical me' and for some people those are wrapped up together, but possibly not for the majority?