Leah joined Backworth Colliery Junior Band (currently known as Backworth Colliery Trainer Band) in 2004, which is where she first picked up a cornet and was taught to play by Denis Taylor; who was conductor at the time and Gillian McMillan (Mother); who was deputy conductor at the time, but then became conductor in 2005. Without hesitation Denis said to Leah, “You’re a cornet player” and was right, for 12 years she has played cornet. In 2006, the junior band went to the Wansbeck Musical Festival contest and won, which is where she received a medal.
At the end of 2006 Leah took a short break from the junior band and in 2009 joined the Shiremoor Salvation Army junior band on Principal cornet. In 2010 she then joined the Shiremoor Salvation Army Senior band on 2nd cornet, progressing up to solo cornet (which is the part she currently play now).
In 2011, Leah joined the Backworth Colliery Senior Band on cornet. She progressed through the ranks from 2nd, to Repiano, to Solo cornet, then to Principal cornet for a short while. Then in January 2017 the Flugelhorn position became available in the band, which is an instrument that she has always admired and wanted to try, so she took up the opportunity to switch instruments and give it a go. Leah is currently still playing Flugelhorn and loving every minute of it, Leah says “I think I have finally found the instrument for me!”
In 2012, Leah joined the Salvation Army Northern Youth Band on cornet. Progressing from 2nd, to 1st, then to solo cornet (which is what she currently plays).
In 2014, Leah’s mum (Gillian) formed a learner band in Shiremoor Salvation Army, it initially started where she taught them together, with Leah’s help, but then we split the group up. She taught the bigger instruments (Euphonium, Bass, Baritone etc) and Leah taught the smaller instruments (Cornet, Flugelhorn etc). In 2016, Leah took over the learners, then from January 2017 tutored individual sessions with each learner and welcomed new learners. From April 2017, the learners were brought together to form a trainer band and with the help of her mum they are bringing the band to success.
In 2015, Leah started at Sunderland University studying Childhood Studies (BA Hons).
In 2016, Leah joined the Brass in Schools project run by the North Tyneside Music Education Hub, alongside other tutors, to teach children and adults how to play an instrument and learn theory. It is run as an after-school club in different educational provisions. In March 2017, we took two brass groups from two different primary schools to the Wansbeck Music Festival to gain experience, where they each performed and listened to other musical performances.
Leah voluntarily teaches in these different groups as it gives her experience working with children, as she hopes to pursue a career working with children. Alongside teaching, she also volunteers at a Girls Brigade organisation, leading a group of young girls aged between 4 and 18, and is a keen amateur photographer
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