I was apparently born to the sounds of Wagner’s ring cycle suite and my brother entered the world while Puccini’s famous Madam Butterfly reached its dramatic crescendo.
Both my parents (and grandparents before them) were avid music lovers. Had my father not been told he had to do a “proper” profession, like being a doctor, I am sure he would have become a concert pianist.
And my mother was a rival for any world-class soprano opera singer – only her nerves let her down taking up the profession full time.
So instead all their musical knowledge and passion were lavished on my brother and I and as a result we spent our childhood being indulged in all things musical. We were taken to operas at the tender age of four and any time a famous classical musician turned up in our home town we were dragged to see them, sometimes witnessing some of the greatest performers in the world without having a clue who they were.
There are family photos of my brother sitting on dad’s knee at the piano when he was only six weeks old.
I remember going to a recorder teacher once a week before I was even at school. I was quite happy to do this as it meant walking back past the sweet shop which mum had faithfully promised we could go into if we behaved in the lesson (which of course we did!)
I later took up the violin and my poor parents had to endure night after night of practice as I scraped my way through some of the great composers’ best-known tunes on my little half-size fiddle.
It was only when I progressed to the full size violin and put in the required practice time that I finally understood just how beautiful a violin could sound.
I had been passed down a rather lovely family heirloom violin (not a Stradivarius sadly!) which had been played by my father and grandmother before him.
I really took to this instrument and went on to play it in school and junior orchestras. It was only when boys came on the scene when I was a teenager that I stopped playing the violin as in my juvenile way of thinking it didn’t seem “cool”.
It is only now I have children of my own that I realise what mum and dad were trying to instil in us - an appreciation of the finer things in life. As a parent I now understand this, so now all three of my children have music lessons. Of course it would be lovely if any turned out to be a musical genius, but that is not the reason I have sent them to music lessons. I just want them to be able to enjoy themselves. Music is all about pleasure.
I can’t wait for the day I go and see them perform in the school orchestra, or even give solo performances, if that is the standard they get to.
I will be the proud mum wiping away her tears in the audience while shakily trying to video the performance.
Sheffield City Council offers a whole range of musical services including helping schools with pupils wanting to learn to play instruments. For more information visit: www.sheffield.gov.uk/musicservice