Hello. How are you? September, to me, is more about new beginnings and feels more like the start of a new year than January. Obviously we have the start of a new term in schools, and my two have recently started their new academic year. Many of the jobs I have had have started in September. When I worked in the theatre, it was always the start of a new season in September that ran until the following summer. And it’s my birthday in September. This year is quite a big year for our family as my eldest has just moved up into the Junior School part of his school, and my youngest has just started Reception and is now in school 5 days a week!
So I thought I might start off the new school year, and the new blog year (if that is even a thing!), by introducing myself to newer readers.
I’m 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 4 and 7. The children keep me on my toes, and I am really enjoying seeing their personalities and their individual interests growing as time goes on. Both of my children love music – which is not really surprising given what I do, and that both my husband and I love music and listen to a lot of music at home. In the last year, of course, the children have spent a lot more time at home than they usually would, and my son especially had extended periods doing his school work at home. At times last year, he struggled a lot with being at home, away from his friends, and he found music to be really helpful to help him with this feeling of struggling with things. We had tried to start learning piano with him when he was younger, and tried learning to play ukulele together without much success the year before, but he started playing piano again in early 2021, and has really taken to it this time round. My daughter, at just 4, loves singing and dancing, and messing about on the piano. Like I did with her brother, I am going to start trying to teach her to play this year. We will see if she enjoys it or not. As her brother gets time playing the piano with me regularly, she is quite keen on the idea and getting her own time playing together at the moment.
Music Education and first career
I am a flute player and singer who studied music at University many years ago. Whilst at University I of course studied performance and played in orchestras and sang in choirs. I also developed an interest in music psychology, in how musical ability develops in children, how people react psychologically to music, and the therapeutic benefits that music can provide, especially to people who may otherwise struggle to communicate. After University I worked Front of House 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 in both Stratford and London and The Royal Albert Hall. I got to know audiences, and how to work with people and manage people.
A bit of a change
In my 30s I made a little detour training 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 both to 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.
Back to music
Like many other mums I took a few classes with my children, and the one both the children and I enjoyed the most and got most out of was a music class we went to each week (I ended up teaching with this organisation for just over a year before the pandemic hit). We went to a number of music events together, including some concerts for children, the Just So Festival one year (I would love to go back when the children are a bit older, well my daughter at least as I think my son would now really enjoy it) and to the musical picnics at Birmingham Symphony Hall regularly.
I mentioned above that I got a job as a class teacher or class leader with the music classes that I had attended with both of my children. So I lead music classes for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers and their carers. This was such a lovely job, watching babies grow in confidence, and watching their faces light up with the activities we all did together. Sadly, just over a year after I started this job the pandemic hit, and so I stopped teaching these classes, and decided to spend more time working on this blog – well that and there may have been quite a bit of time where the children were at home trying to do their school work.
When I’m not writing about or thinking about music, or looking after the children, I love crafting away with crochet, sewing and recently I have discovered making things out of resin. I try baking with the children and each year we have our own Bake Off competition following along with the programmes bakes (mostly – the odd weeks like medieval week or German bread week we give a miss). We work in teams, me and my son against my husband and daughter. My son appoints himself as the main judge, and I do find that the scoring for each week’s bakes seems to be quite generous in my team’s favour. No idea why!