West Norfolk schools group music boss goes back to where it all began
A former student who went on to have a globe-trotting career in the music industry is preparing to come back to where it all began.
Robin Norman was a professional tuba player and publisher before moving into education.
But, now, he is taking over as director of music for the West Norfolk Academies Trust, which means a return to his old school after more than three decades.
He said: “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.
“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 is succeeding Peter Strudwick, who was Springwood's head of music when he was a pupil.
He said: “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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
And, after the disruption of lockdown, Mr Norman, who is joining the trust from the Ken Stimpson Community School in Peterborough, 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.”