I haven’t done this on the blog before, but I thought I should probably introduce myself to you all.
Hello. I’ll start with the basics: My name is Jhodi. I live in Birmingham in the UK, which is where I grew up. I live with my husband and two children who, at the date of writing this post, are aged 3 and 6. They are, like probably all children of their age, both absolutely amazing, brilliant, and keep me young; and utterly exhausting at times. My son is obsessed with superheroes (it was Star Wars last year, and Numberblocks the year before), and while he likes music, he prefers drawing and playing with lego. He is a performer, though, and does love to put on dance shows for us after dinner. Always after dinner! My daughter, the three year old, loves music. She is always singing away to herself and to her dolls. She loves playing with her dolls, with vehicles, and as her brother is always playing superhero games she can do a very good Hulk Smash.
I studied music at University many years ago, and part of my degree involved studying how musical ability develops, studying how people react psychologically to music, and a little bit of music therapy. After University I worked in Customer Service working in arts venues. I got to work in some fantastic venues in the Midlands and London, including Birmingham Symphony Hall, The Birmingham Rep Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Royal Albert Hall. I got to know audiences, and how to work with people and manage people. I also developed my theory that you can understand a lot about a company’s attitude towards its customers by the state of the toilets….
I made a little detour to become a solicitor and spent the best part of a decade working in medical negligence law. Although this may sound like a huge departure, it wasn’t really. I was still working with people and resolving disputes, but on a far more formal (and serious) basis. I left the law when I had my son. I did not feel that I could give as much as I wanted to both being a solicitor and being a mum, and so was a stay at home mum for a few years while my son was small and then I had my daughter.
My first job after having the children was back in music. I got a job as a class teacher or class leader for a national organisation that runs music classes for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. This was such a lovely job, watching babies grow in confidence, and watching their faces light up with the activities we all did together. These were classes that I had gone to with both of my children and had thoroughly enjoyed as a customer, and I loved being able to give other parents a similar experience with their children. This job got me back into music, into thinking about music and playing it; thinking about musical activities to do with my children, about their musical education; it got me back into thinking about how children benefit from musical activity at a young age and exposure to music at a young age.
I had already started to write this blog as the pandemic hit and so, knowing that the classes available to teach with this organisation would be very limited once face time face teaching was allowed again, I decided to leave as it wouldn’t be financially viable to continue.
That brings us to today. My children have just gone back to school (one for 3 days a week, the other full time) for the Winter Term, and who knows how long they will actually stay there for before some sort of new lockdown. I am now spending my time writing this blog, getting back into my own deliberate musical practice and thinking about how to get children into music, both from personal experience as a mum (and now former baby music class teacher) and from a music psychology basis.
I look forward to seeing where this blog takes me.