Sue Beckett loves music. She plays various instruments including the cello, recorder and guitar, plus she is learning the euphonium.
But she believes that if she had had better opportunities, she would have found it easier to get into music at an earlier age.
She says: ‘When I was younger you didn’t have the chance to learn music in a whole class of students, which you can now. To be able to learn an instrument at any age is a real privilege.’
It’s why Sue, who is in charge of Portsmouth Music Service, is so excited about the launch of the city’s new Music Hub. The aim is to create a network that brings organisations together and helps children in education to learn and perform music.
It’s one of the first of its kind in the country and is being created ahead of the government’s National Music Plan, which is expected to be announced shortly.
Portsmouth Music Service, which runs workshops in the city for more than 5,000 students a year, is in charge of building a website, organising partners and newsletters and setting up a stream of Facebook and Twitter feeds so every member can communicate with each other.
The hub will involve many different organisations involved in music in the city, working together.
Sue, 43, says: ‘We hope that the team will build up with each partner that joins.’
The Music Hub offers regular ways for music organisations to communicate with each other. In this way it’s easy for people to promote their work, and maximises opportunities for children wanting to be involved in music.
Some of the partners include the Kings Theatre, Portsmouth Festival Choir, the Same Difference Pop Academy and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Sue explains: ‘It’s a government initiative that is going to be part of a national plan, where a network brings everybody together in one group so people can see what’s going on. It will help everyone musically across the city.’
With Portsmouth Music Service being the main partner of the network, it’s the primary source of funding.
Sue says the Music Hub is about providing free workshops, giving better rates to perform at venues, and getting organisers to work together to build stronger relationships.
‘All the information is published through the hub website,’ Sue says.
‘We will also have a newsletter. We have a board who are working towards looking at ways forward. The thing is we’re so new that there is so much to be getting on with.’
After working in Portsmouth for eight years, Sue has spent the past three as head of Portsmouth Music Service. She thinks the city really has something musically to offer.
Sue says: ‘I just find it amazing that people don’t realise how much is going on musically in the city.’
She adds: ‘I’m very passionate about what we can do, and the way we can change music here.’
With events lined up for the coming months, including a musical celebration of the sea in March 2012, the Music Hub is formally launching with a free concert at Portsmouth Guildhall on Monday November 7 by world-renowned violinist Greg Scott.
Sue adds: ‘I heard him playing once before and I thought he was so inspirational. We have a lot of children learning violin in the city, and I think the hub is going to give them so many opportunities.
She adds: ‘I’m hoping a lot of people will come to the launch. Greg won’t be just playing the classical stuff either. I’m sure it will be a great evening. In a way Portsmouth has its own style, people are so attached to the city. I’m sure there will be lots of challenges on the way but we know we can make a difference.’
· For more information about the scheme, go to the Portsmouth Music Hub website
Violinist and showman Greg Scott was recently voted by women’s magazine Company as one of the 50 most eligible bachelors in Britain.
The 6ft 5in musician’s debut album, Duel, went straight to number one in the classical charts and he has since played sold-out shows across the world.
But the classical showman is taking time out from his worldwide tour, World by Music, to perform at the launch of Portsmouth Music Hub at the Guildhall on November 7.
After being discovered as a struggling student performing on the streets of Manchester, he has since played alongside artists such as Katherine Jenkins, Aled Jones and Bryan Ferry. Greg even busked in Portsmouth.
He explains: ‘Portsmouth has always been a city that I have wanted to perform in from when I used to busk there as a student. It’s nice to come back as a professional musician to give them another show, and inspire kids who want to learn a musical instrument.
‘My love of the violin has given me an amazing life, travelling around the world, meeting fascinating people and playing music I’m passionate about. Why not have a dream job in music that you love? That’s the message I want to send to schoolchildren.’
Greg is taking part in the launch because he believes such a cause is important.
He adds: ‘I think if children can be inspired by the music in my concert then it’s a nice thing for them to be a part of. Learning music from an early age gives children a lot of fun, especially if it gives them confidence, and is a sociable thing for them to do.’
Greg’s tour, World by Music, features classical, celtic, tango, and gypsy style music.
‘The tour is going very well,’ he explains, ‘but it can get very tiring. But music is my passion, so I feel very lucky to do what I do.’
Talking about his career, Greg says performing with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and then ultimately going on to have a number one album in the UK classical charts, was unbeatable.
In Portsmouth will perform a programme that includes Star Wars, Harry Potter, Around The World, Schlinders List, Smooth Criminal, and Claire de lune.