"Before I started NMPAT activities, I was a shy child who found it difficult to make friends as I felt I didn't have anything in common with those I was at school with. I didn't like socialising outside of school, and the thought of it generally made me feel anxious and nervous, and I would lie to get out of social situations. I was bullied at secondary school and felt like I didn't fit in, I loved learning, but I hated school. I didn't feel safe there.
"My sister joined NMPAT - Kettering Music Centre in 2003 and seemed to enjoy it, and so I wouldn't feel left out, my mum tried to encourage me to go as I was working towards my grade 4 cornet, but lacking enthusiasm. I think she knew it would help with a lot of things. The first few weeks, I was so anxious, I remember feeling quite unwell, but with my sister to protect me, I felt safe and I began to make friends. After a term or so, I finally felt like I fitted in somewhere and started to gain confidence, in my playing and in myself. I got help with the bullying at school and poured all my energy into music.
"Long story short, I have left (most of) my anxiety behind, and feel confident in social situations, even those where you don't know the person you are talking to! I am now a peripatetic music teacher myself, and it brings me great joy to see children growing in self esteem and so many other ways, just through music.
"I never would have been able to develop the social skills I have now without NMPAT. It established me as a person, and I would never have been able to achieve anything I have in life without these essential skills. Oh, and they taught me how to play the trumpet quite well too, I suppose!"
Emily at Symphony Hall, 2013