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Debbie Geraghty


I'm approaching almost two decades with an organisation I first came across way back yonder through a friend who was a music leader. I was actually a political correspondent in television at the time. A journalist who happened to play guitar. And wrote songs. On a beanbag. Nothing that screamed a fertile future as a music educator in any way at all. In fact the thought had never crossed my mind. I just felt slightly disillusioned at the time with what I was doing so was open to exploring anything else that was out there.

An inner city school in Plymouth wasn't quite the destination I had in mind though. But I just happened to be someone from an interesting background. One of those backgrounds that are either character building or busting. So when my friend invited me to help out at a music session working with teenage girls who were having a hard time, I went. Willingly. Excitedly. And after a few challenging weeks I helped them write songs about their worlds. Worlds that, as it happened, weren't too far away from things that I too recalled as a young troubled teenager. I realised that they too got comfort from music just as I had as a young girl many years ago. I suddenly remembered what music had done for me in the absence of anything else way back then. I realised that the transporting power of music was something special - something powerful that affected everyone else too. In that moment as I reached out with music to those young girls in that school, somehow my journalistic career, my work in politics, my interviews with the Prime Minister and the power of Westminster all melted away in front of me. Suddenly I saw that if I really wanted to change the world then perhaps I had been in the wrong place all along.

That desire to uncover the truth through journalism and make the world a better place suddenly felt misplaced. Yet how could a few chords and a meaningful conversation and connection overtake the seat of power? Well it did. And I never looked back. All these years on I am the Chief Executive of Plymouth Music Zone. An organisation that changes lives through music. A charity that lives to make a difference. An organisation that breathes compassion and possibility. In fact all those things I expected of politicians. But all those things they simply couldn't deliver. Yet I find it everyday around me now. And I couldn't be happier.

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