Hannah Johnson’s journey started in 2012, when she was 9 years old. She chose to learn the Oboe at Hawthorn Primary School in Elswick, an In Harmony school.
“I liked the sound of it… before I started, I didn’t know how to read music or what notes were,” she says.
Since these early first steps, Hannah has become a confident musician, made new friends and is considering a music career, as she explains:
“In Harmony has helped me grow in confidence as I would never have got up on a stage before,” she says. “Being with In Harmony has given me the chance to meet students from other schools and perform at Sage Gateshead.”
After a year of playing, Hannah gained the opportunity to study at Sage Gateshead’s Centre for Advanced Training (part of the Young Musicians Programme), where she continues to attend with the support of a bursary. She says, “I jumped at the chance to do this. I got to have 1-1 sessions and practice as a group.”
Hannah’s dad Barry credits the bursary scheme with allowing her musical aspiration to flourish.
“Without the bursary nothing would have happened. We wouldn’t have been able to afford it,” he says.
Hannah’s passion for music has rubbed off on her brother Connor, who is learning the violin as part of the In Harmony project. Barry says, “We often hear Hannah and Connor practice together, and it always brings a smile to our faces. We hope that Connor can follow in Hannah’s footsteps.”
Hannah is now in Year 13 at Excelsior Sixth Form College, and plays with the West Newcastle Symphony Orchestra- a community orchestra that grew out of In Harmony. As she explains, a career in music is a definite option:
“My aim is to reach grade 8 by the time I’m 18,” says Hannah. “I would like to give other students the chance to learn all the skills that I’ve learned with In Harmony by maybe becoming a tutor myself.”
Hannah has recently successfully auditioned to be part of Young Sinfonia.