I started having cello and clarinet lessons through the Wolverhampton Music Service when I was at primary school. From my very first lessons, I was encouraged to explore the depths of my instruments, and with the dedication of brilliant instrumental teachers, I grew to really love all aspects of music-making.
I soon became involved in ensembles and orchestras outside of school, eventually working my way up to play in the Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra and the Wolverhampton Youth Wind Orchestra.
Being a member of these orchestras was an incredible experience. They brought together young people from all over Wolverhampton, and together we learnt of the joys and benefits of persistent teamwork and dedication. Annual tours were clear highlights of my membership of these orchestras, and the opportunities we were given to perform to communities across Europe will never be forgotten.
Not only was playing in these orchestras an invaluable musical experience, but it was also a great social one. The Music Service connected young people who would not have otherwise met, and the friendships formed on the basis of our shared appreciation of music were very special.
In my final year at school, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to perform a cello concerto alongside the Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra. This encouraged my musical development hugely, and to be able to work in such detail on a full-length concerto with the help of such devoted teachers was a memorable and enriching experience.
By the time I left school, I had no doubt that music, and the opportunities that my musical education in Wolverhampton had given me, were going to remain with me for a very long time.
I am now in my first year of university. Although I am not studying music academically, it continues to be an important and highly-valued part of my life. Currently, I am playing cello in a septet with some other students from across the university, and we are working towards out first performance as an ensemble in a few weeks time.
The experiences given to me by Wolverhampton Music Service were unforgettable, and I owe my continued love of music-making to these experiences. I hope that many more young people from across the West Midlands continue to be offered musical opportunities of the same depth as I was lucky enough to enjoy.