A former student who went on to have a globe-trotting career in the music industry is saying thank you for the music in the best possible way by returning to be the new director of music with the academy trust that runs his old school.
Robin Norman, a former pupil of Springwood High School in King’s Lynn, was Head of Performing Arts and Head of Music at Ken Stimpson Community School in Peterborough, but this Autumn, he will take over as director of music for all 11 schools in the West Norfolk Academies Trust.
“Springwood is where my musical life began back in 1984, a musical life that has taken me around the world as a performer and music practitioner so I consider it a real honour to be returning to where it all started for me, to inspire the next generation of musicians,” he said.
Mr Norman, who worked as a professional tuba player and also in music publishing before moving into education, will take over from the man who was head of music in his school days, Rob Galliard, who is stepping down this summer. He has played a major role in embedding music teaching within the curriculum at all schools across the Trust, something Mr Norman says he greatly appreciates.
“I was very fortunate to be starting at Springwood at a point when music was at a real high point within the school with many musicians that went on to use it as a career in some way,” he said.
“Rob encouraged and convinced me to make music my life. Not only did I start as a musician at Springwood but, when I moved into teaching, Springwood was my first training placement. Later, when I had qualified, my first position was at St Clement's High School, another Trust school, so the Trust has played a major role in my life and career in music, supported by teachers who are keen to share the passion they have for a fantastic musical experience.”
The teaching of music and the arts is greatly encouraged at Trust schools, for its wider educational benefit as much as for its own worth, and Mr Norman said this was something he was very keen to develop further.
“I want to share with the young people of West Norfolk so that they can see that music is a viable choice both at A-Level and degree level and that the opportunities to make your living in music are there, to do it in a subject that you love,” he said.
“The opportunities given to students in the Trust are second to none with bands, orchestras, choirs and other groups but there is a real understanding of what music means to people; a real subject for all.”
“Above all, what I will bring to the role is the absolute belief that every single person has a talent in something and that every young person can enjoy music - our job is to find that passion and encourage it to build the young people into the adults we know they can be.”
The Trust’s multi-school nature gives great potential for collaboration, and after the disruption of lockdown, Mr Norman said he was keen to get group activities up and running again as soon as possible.
“Music is essentially a social subject where team-work and the ability to express yourself is key. This has made lockdown an incredibly difficult proposition for music education, but where there's a will, there's a way!,” he said.
“I cannot wait to start group activities again properly. Music is truly community-building, a community of friends that can last a lifetime. I have experienced that first hand, now I look forward to helping others to experience the same - what more can I ask for in a job.”
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