I started learning the cello aged 32 when our boys Richard, Edward, Robert, and James were aged 8, 7, 4 and 2 respectively. I was keen for them to learn an orchestral instrument and realised that parental help was essential.

I had played the piano at school to an adequate standard (Grade 8), but had not learned an orchestral instrument myself. I wanted to join in! So we all learned - three boys on the cello and one on the violin. Even my husband Michael learned the trumpet briefly, but he decided to give up when he dislocated his shoulder on a ski holiday. The boys achieved various levels of proficiency; all were able to play in their school orchestra and one is now a professional cellist and conductor.

They all had fun and made friends through music.

After 5 years of lessons (and examinations) I became involved in the now legendary Tower Hamlets Strings Project under the leadership of Sheila Nelson. As a team of 35 peripatetic teachers we taught the violin and cello to 1000 children every week of the school year in large groups (30-35) as part of their general curriculum.

I spent the next 10 years with increasing involvement in this project, adapting the strategies I learned there, first to my own private cello teaching, then in two private schools and, from 1985, at the Royal Academy of Music in London. I also taught for three years at the Junior Department of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.