We ask professional musicians the questions you really want to know (but might never get the chance to ask) in a new series of blog posts entitled ‘Meet a Musician.’
Felicity Mullins is a professional percussionist and has been delivering samba, African drumming and percussion projects for SoundStorm since 2015. We had a chat when she popped into the SoundStorm office last week and she offered some valuable advice to young musicians…
What has your career journey looked like so far?
After graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama at Coventry Uni, I completed a post graduate in early years education and worked as an early years professional in my family’s nursery for several years. But I have always been a musician and performer and fell into my position at Soundstorm after attending a training course. I have now been teaching for Soundstorm for just over 3 years.
What projects have you delivered for SoundStorm that you’ve felt passionate about?
I am incredibly passionate about Ritmo, Soundstorm’s samba band, run by myself and my brother, Greg Pringle. We pride ourselves on the standard of the drummers that participate in Ritmo, the friendships and support built between the children and the performance opportunities that they have been lucky enough to have. Performances include Arts by the Sea Festival, Bournemouth Air Show, Striking Chords, Corfe Mullen Carnival to name but a few!
What positive impact do you think music education can have?
Music is not only a creative outlet, but enables children to develop in many areas. This includes confidence, discipline, empathy, team building, problem solving and mathematical skills, cultural development, emotional development and so much more. Music brings children from all walks of life together and enables everyone to achieve. Music really is the universal language.
Do you have any advice for young people that want to pursue music as a career?
Practice lots and if you can, learn to read music. A lot of children learn by ear, which is brilliant and an excellent skill to have. But so is being able to read music. If you can do both, you have an excellent chance of being able to follow a career in music.
What are your top performance tips?
Be prepared – practice lots, get to as many rehearsals as possible and make sure you know what you are doing.
Look prepared – performance comes as a package. Make sure you have thought about what you are wearing so not only do you look your best, but you are comfortable playing, make sure your hair is off your face so A. You can read your music and B. Your audience can see you!
Channel any nerves into positive energy (nerves are good, it means you care about what you are going to do) Enjoy it and SMILE!!
Why is music important to you?
Not only has music given me a whole wealth of knowledge and experience that I would never have gained had I not become a musician, but it has given me some life long friends, some unforgettable memories (playing samba at the Blue Peter proms at the Royal Albert Hall for example) and everyday is an adventure! I’m proud of what I have achieved so far in my life both musically and otherwise, and now I get to help teach and inspire other youngsters to learn, and hopefully enable them to have as many exciting opportunities as I did growing up.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Every child, no matter what their background, should be entitled to learn a musical instrument. That is why agencies funded by the Arts Council, like Soundstorm are critical to a child’s full and varied education. Every school should use Soundstorm, every parent should enquire about their courses (where else would you get an educational after school club for around £30 a term?!) and every child should be given the chance to learn a life changing skill. Music is a life changing skill.
Thanks to Felicity for the insight into life as a professional musician. Find out more about Ritmo, SoundStorm’s samba band that she leads alongside Greg Pringle, by clicking here
Next month, we chat to guitarist & composer Chris Woods about why academia is not the only route to success in music