Hi. The name’s Nina. Nina Miller. But enough of this James Bond nonsense, let’s get down to business.

 

I started my Paragon journey (believe me, it’s been a journey) just before the summer holidays in 2014, when I went to Play On, the music program. I started with my trusty whistle as my instrument of choice – I’d played for 5 1/2 years before that, so I felt pretty comfortable with it. I was introduced to a loveable hippie named Ninian Perry, who was quite honestly the happiest person I have ever met in my life, who then proceeded to joyfully introduce the wonderful Tom Oakes as my whistle teacher, and so my journey began.

 

Before I knew it, I was there every Saturday from 10am-1pm. I whistled with Tom and I arranged harp pieces with Karen, but above all, I worked on my improv with Ninian and the rest of the gang. I mean, don’t get me wrong, at first I basically just sat and nodded my head until everyone had finished jamming, but soon I was actually joining in, and realising that I knew what sound I wanted to make, and even when I didn’t, I just had to go for it. I even started trying my hand at a bit of percussion- I really tried. I really got into the swing of things at play on, and before I knew it, we were about to break for summer again and everyone there felt like old friends. Although I was looking forward to my break, I didn’t want to go without my paragon chums for a whole summer- thats when my mum told me about M3- the music and dance group.

 

I started M3 in the summer, for a week long course that was nothing like I had predicted. When I thought about M3, I felt cautiously excited to try a totally new art form- me? Pretentious? My first morning, I entered a very different world from play on, and, although I was enjoying the dancing, I naturally drifted towards the music. By the afternoon I was back to my whistle and a little percussion- you can’t say I didn’t try- and felt a little less out of my comfort zone. I did the same on Tuesday, but by Wednesday I was jamming all day long, and by Friday’s performance we had a whistle/trumpet combo and some pretty cool A minor grooves going on.

 

What amazed me was how different the two groups were. Even though there were a lot of people at M3 who were at play on, and we were improvising, just like I had done before, we were creating the mood for the dancers, and we had to keep that mood until they were ready to move on. It was odd, to have something so disciplined and yet so free, but it helped me to developed as a musician. I stopped going to play on that summer, and I started going to the junior conservatoire instead, but now I’m a regular at M3, and I’m continually surprised at how comfortable it’s made me feel with music.