Welcome to our weekly series where we highlight the great work that RBC alumni are doing in the field of music education.
Each week our guest will reveal insights such as what led them to do what they are currently doing, the projects they have been involved in since graduating, what inspires them on a daily basis, and what advice they would give to any music student considering working as a music educator in the future, whether full-time or as part of a rewarding portfolio career.
Episode 6: Ben Jones
Years studied 2013-2017
Course BMus (Hons)
First study Tuba
My interests in pursuing a career in music education started during my second year of study at the Conservatoire. I decided to take part in and volunteer with various groups including RBC’s LEAP Ensemble, Melody Music Birmingham and the CBSO’s Notelets workshops. Through these experiences, I quickly discovered that a career in music education would be incredibly rewarding and fun. It was during my fourth year that I finally decided that I would like music education to form a part of my career.
After graduating, I decided to become a freelance musician, balancing my work between various performance and music education opportunities. I spent the first few years of my career exploring the different opportunities as a music educator. My various music education jobs now include brass teaching across Worcestershire. I’m also a brass teacher and orchestral leader with In Harmony, a mentor with Cheltenham Festival’s Musicate project, a conductor with Worcester City Youth Brass Band and I lead pre-concert workshops for the CBSO’s Notelets concerts. I’m also a member of RBC’s LEAP and LEAP Grad ensembles and Musical Director of the Central England Concert Band.
Having a varied career in music education keeps my work feeling fresh and exciting, with no two weeks ever feeling the same. It also means that I get to experience different types and settings of music education, having to adapt and change my approaches depending on age, ability and any additional needs there might be.
I also enjoy working with loads of different professional musicians. I get to have a great time working alongside them as well as improving my existing skills as a music educator and learning new ones. A career in music education is also incredibly satisfying. For me, my most rewarding experiences involve children and adults performing music in front of others for the first time, especially when they are feeling incredibly nervous or feel that they ‘can’t do it’. Seeing their faces light up with excitement and being bombarded with positive feedback afterwards always makes the work I’ve put in with them completely worth it.
From my first few years as a freelance musician, I would strongly encourage any RBC student to pursue a career or part of their portfolio career as a music educator. It’s a highly rewarding job with so many possible career paths to suit every musician. I also feel that it’s very important, now more than ever, to inspire the next generation of musicians and to help spread the joys that music can bring.
If you are one of RBC’s alumni and would like to take part in this feature, contact Interim Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) Luan Shaw, Head of Pedagogy Dr Adam Whittaker or Head of Learning and Participation Richard Shrewsbury.
Image: Ben Jones, credit: StillMoving Media