Meet the Team – who are you Howard Burchfield?
What instrument/s do you teach and how long have you a member of the BHMA team?
I have been teaching with Brighton & Hove for nearly 10 years, having started in September 2005. My main Instruments with the service are Clarinet and Saxophone, which I teach from year 4 to sixth form. I also teach some Flute in key stage 2 (primary school).
Can you tell us about your first musical memory?
My parents loved music, my Mother with “Classical” and my Father Big Band and crooners such as Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole etc. We were always listening to ‘sing something simple’ on the radio of a Sunday afternoon and would sing rounds with my siblings when in the car going on holidays.
When did you first take up a musical instrument and what attracted you to music?
Opportunities were not available in Primary school, so my musical playing started with the Recorder in year 7, which then progressed on to the Clarinet in year 8. When in a music lesson in year 7 we were listening to a little of Grieg’s piano concerto, with music notation in front of us! When I saw all of the notes in the cadenza, trying to make sense of it all, wondering how you play all of the notes! I felt then, that I wanted to be involved in music.
What was your first album purchase/first gig?
Being a little strange and square, my first record was an LP of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto......and my very first paying job was Clarinet and Piano for a Woman’s Institute Concert, for which I was paid £1.50 and a chocolate bar!!
If you had to choose three records to take any to a desert island what would you choose and why?
If I could only take three records to a desert Island, that would be hard but my choice would be Romeo and Juliet Ballet score by Prokofiev and 6th Symphony by Tchaikovsky because of the intense emotions in their composing. My third choice would be Harry Potter score of the first film by John Williams as pure escapism, on a desert Island, hummm.......
What is the most challenging part of your working week and what motivates you when working with young musicians?
The most challenging part of teaching is trying to make sure that the students receive a good quality lesson each time and then knowing that for some students that they have worked really hard to achieve the best they can over the years work. That and remembering where I should be each day!
Could you tell us about one of your recent musical highlights?
As far as playing is concerned, my most recent highlight was playing for an orchestra, where we played Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade, which not only has a great Clarinet part but my wife was playing the principal Flute part as well.
What would be your top tip to any aspiring young musician?
My top tip to any aspiring young musician would be “Patience!”
Finally, if you were to learn another instrument, what would it be?
If I had the time I would like to be able to play the piano with some degree of competence.