To see or not to see

You start playing football on a Saturday morning in your local park at the age of five, maybe because your dad did, or because that’s what your mates are doing, and you probably carry on until you leave school. By that time, maybe one of your friends has been picked for a local team or been talent-spotted by a scout.

But generally they won’t have been. All the same, you’ll probably mostly carry on with football: 5-a-side teams with work colleagues, adult village teams, pub or charity teams, helping out with the kids on a Saturday morning, attending matches. 

Now think about the clarinet you started playing aged seven. You had endless lessons and your mum nagged you about practising. The music teacher dragged you into the school band where you and 27 others were forced to produce awful renditions of music you didn’t care about for every school concert. 

So the minute you reach 18 or find an excuse (GCSEs), you banish the clarinet to the attic and swear you’ll never touch it again. 

What is the difference between these two worlds? Why would you rather trudge in the pouring rain to play football on a field ankle-deep in mud, inevitably inviting a life-time of twisted knee ligaments, than make a great sound with others in a dry space with no danger to your limbs?

Parents’ enthusiasm? 

In our minimally-sports-interested household, it is unsurprising no-one’s turned out to be a professional footballer. In many brass bands, kids follow parents via youth and training bands.

Having fun with your friends?

Most people don’t realise you can do that with music (and go to the pub after practice, just like amateur football teams…) because learning an instrument for a child can be quite tedious. And do you even get to pick your instrument? Or the music you’re going to play?  

Hey, look at that! 

As a member of the public, do I even know there’s a world of fun to be had with a music group just up the road? But I can’t help knowing about adult amateur footballers because I’m passing them in a park near me on a regular basis. 

So groups: get out there into the spaces where people already are – the shopping centre, the library, the supermarket, the city centre square, the school fete, the community festival, the train station.

One opportunity to do this every year is on Make Music Day (21 June). But pounce on any chances you spot, and keep showing your community what a great time you’re having and that making music is for everyone.