Professional musician and Create workshop leader, Mike Poyser, reflects on his passion for music and the power to transform lives.
“I started playing the tuba when I was 10 years old after a brass teacher came into school and asked if anyone fancied playing one. I was enticed by the shiny brass and the incredible sound the instrument made. I was allowed one because I was the biggest in the school! I went on to a unique school called Wardle High where there were 500 brass players and six brass bands! There I joined the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.
“I then studied ‘Physics with studies in Musical Performance’ at Imperial College and a Masters in Orchestral Performance at the Royal College of Music. As a musician I have been lucky enough to play all over the world. As a physicist, I have done very little!! Music is a huge part of my life. I have a very varied career, currently combining my work with Create with teaching at the Royal College of Music and at a primary school, playing in three of my own groups and in orchestras and other ensembles. Every day is different – I love the variety and I love performing and making fantastic music. From an education side of things I enjoy seeing children discover the magic of music making and having lots of fun. Whilst at college, I joined a group called The Elastic Band, which tours the country giving fun concerts for all ages. The conductor is an incredible person and an absolute inspiration. I was so amazed by what he and his group do that I decided I wanted to be involved in community settings myself.
“Music can mean so much to so many people, from evoking distant memories in residential homes for older people, to the eye popping excitement of young children seeing live music for the first time, to the relaxing qualities in hospitals and hospices. I like being involved in this.
“I started working with Create when I got a call asking me to cover for another tuba player on a music and maths workshop. I love maths (prime numbers are ace) as much as I love music so I was very pleased to be involved! I was just out of college and was looking to develop my community work so I was really excited about getting the call. Since then I have been involved with all kinds of projects and I have enjoyed them all. One of my favourites has been that first project, Count the Beat. Seeing Create’s workshop leader coordinate such great music and informative maths sessions for the students was amazing. But the most special projects for me have been those bringing together disabled and non-disabled children at two schools in Kent.
“Seeing the autistic students come out of their shells and forge real and meaningful friendships with the non-disabled students has been great.
“Working for Create is very easy, because the charity is really well organised: from planning sessions, to Create staff being present, to the evaluation processes. It is always a pleasure. Also, it’s great working with other professionals and I have worked with some truly incredible musicians. I also love meeting people from other disciplines and it’s been fascinating collaborating with one of Create’s dancers and with a performance poet.”
This piece was written in 2011.