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Bridget’s Blog: Meet Music Mark’s newest Champion…

24th January 2022

I was lucky growing up to have two musical parents.  Of course, I didn’t always see it that way when my Dad told me off for not focussing on scales and ‘long notes’ on the bassoon, or when my mum checked the practice notes from my piano teacher and asked why I’d been playing the pieces I already knew and not learning the new piece suggested. We all know how important adults can be in the musical development of children and young people.  As a pupil, you need to want to learn and there is a point when you will do the practice (even the scales) because you ‘get the musical bug’, but parents and carers, as well as teachers, can help keep you going until you do!

Dr Kanneh-Mason at our 2020 conference with host YolanDa Brown

Last summer we launched our Get Playing campaign to help parents and carers who might not be musical themselves understand how great music is for children and young people.  We are planning to do more with the resources we have already created, and develop others, this year.  However, we are also keen to champion and celebrate the role of the encouraging adults – those who are supporting our young musicians between the lessons.

I was really moved by the keynote given by Dr Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason at our Annual Conference in 2020.  She is such a great example of a supportive parent, and what is more inspiring is that she managed to do that with such a large family!  If you didn’t hear her presentation at the time it is well worth taking some time to watch the recording which is on our website here.

I am now delighted to announce that Dr Kanneh-Mason has agreed to take on the role as a Music Mark Champion!

With the departure of Charles Hazelwood as our founding Patron at the end of 2021 after 8 years in the role, the Board and I have been discussing what we might do next.  Like many charities, the Board know there is value in having people connected with Music Mark who might inspire the membership and help us to champion our vision for music education.

However, as Charles stood down, a discussion about next steps resulted in agreement that the term ‘patron’ sounded a little old fashioned, and is a term charities usually use linked to the word ‘royal’. This didn’t seem to fit well with our ethos, so the Trustees agreed to rename this role as a Champion.  Dr Kanneh-Mason therefore is our first Music Mark Champion, and the board has also decided that she will be just the first appointment in a set of inspiring people they hope to make over the coming year in the lead up to our 10th Birthday (in February 2023).

We cannot expect too much from this voluntary role, but we hope that Dr Kanneh-Mason, along with others appointed to be Champions in due course, might be able to find some time to give us an interview we can share with you later this year.  For now though, we are excited to welcome her to Music Mark and to be reminded of the importance of parental/carer encouragement for children’s musical journeys, even when it’s not what we think we need at the time!