Michael explains the ideas of careers and enterprise in relation to the NSM studies.
Heather: Were there any of those kinds of opportunities when at the school to kind of… Were there any kind of entrepreneurship or anything going at the school at the time?
Michael: It didn’t occur in those days really in the same way because nowadays I can see— There was a chap on the television last night and he said, ‘I’m studying music business’.
And I said to my wife, ‘What do you think he is doing?’ And she said, ‘Well listen.’ And he is sort of studying how to find slots for people to promote them or how to get the music out there, they say.
These are all things that have appeared in the last 20 odd years. We… we… as we learned we didn’t have… Nothing was ever indicated to you that you might do this your life time through.
It was: you’re gonna learn it and you would learn it well.
Whatever use it would be to you would be of your making, but that was never pointed out. And so in a sense people of my generation unless they went to study in a university with somebody influential who could sort of recommend you. I mean, this is the end, if you will, the period I’m talking about, the 70’s, is like the end of the apprentice musician stage that started you know before baroque times.
And there was never any career pattern for anybody and nobody viewed it as a career. Even the people at the Northern I don’t think saw it as a… as a way forward. You could teach it… or—but the idea that you could play it was never really put to you, or the idea that you might make something of it was never, you know— But if there were exceptional students they were sort of highlighted, I can think of a few who were highlighted in concerts or you know different things.
But I think people were quite ambitious through school or music teachers at school who were beginning to see that there was actually a way into it. But I didn’t go to an influential school and I didn’t have influential teachers, particularly. So it meant that everything that I did had to be discovered by making mistakes and doing it wrong.
Or doing it the hard way and I think... a lot of people if you ask them the same question might say the same. I mean I’ve had piano pupils, made a lot of money out of piano teaching one time, but the reality of it is it’s very hard work, it’s tiring, you know. But I think that— Yeah, we didn’t— Nobody looked to— Enterprise came in post Margaret Thatcher. So once the sort of— Thatcher gives way to Major and then you get the Tony Blair period, that’s when it really picked up as enterprise.
Part of the #NSM2020 project "A 20/20 Legacy: the centenary of the Northern School of Music" supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.