Stephen has been running his Musical Bumps business in Crowborough and the surrounding area for just over 18 months. Following a career in military music he spent some time as a stay-at-home dad before starting his business. Details of his classes can be found here
Why did you choose a Musical Bumps business?
I knew (from singing endlessly with my son) that the benefits of education through music were huge and wanted to follow this further. I looked into many options. There are lots of franchises out there that are very prescriptive (it’s their way or no way!). But, as a musician with lots of ideas and experience, I need more freedom to bring something of myself to classes. Musical Bumps fits this perfectly, both in terms of musical enjoyment – with lots of acapella songs and solid musicianship, and with the freedom and support to grow my business around my family life.
What is your background?
Not what you expect from an early years teacher! I have spent nearly 13 years serving in the Army as a Mounted Military Musician, specialising in the Trumpet and String Bass. This job took me (on horseback) around the world playing to royalty, dignitaries and military personnel.
How have you found the training and support from head office?
As a lot of the initial training is online I was able to do this at hours to suit me, and the team was always a phone call away to help when needed. The on-going support from our Head Office (and from our team of Musical Bumps teachers) is still vital to helping me run my business – I love being able to air ideas, share good practice and learn from the other teachers.
How did you feel about starting your own Musical Bumps business?
It’s always a worry starting something new and there was so much to learn about starting a business and what’s involved. It was, however, reassuring to be part of the Musical Bumps team and that made it a whole lot easier.
What’s your favourite Musical Bumps song so far and why?
It’s impossible to have a favourite – I love so many of the songs we sing in class. In fact my 4 year old son does too! He has just asked my for a Musical Bumps birthday party and every time we get in the car (still!) the CDs go on!!
What’s the best advice you’ve had?
To have some work/life balance. It’s very hard when you are running your own business to switch off but keeping fresh and keeping time to yourself is vital to keep being able to drive things forward.
Why do you think music is so important in the early years?
It’s so empowering! There are songs for and about everything and it can help a young child to really understand things, connect with things and explore things. It’s also a great starting block for a musical education.
Have you seen any real examples of how music has made a real impact?
Yes I’ve worked with a blind child that really struggled to connect with his peers. Music provided a platform where he felt safe to start to join in. Watching him grow in confidence was a wonderful thing. I’ve also worked with a child who rarely used their voice. With the help of a finger puppet and some great songs and games this child now speaks freely and confidently!
What do you do when you’re not working?
When I’m not running my Musical Bumps business I am busy being a househusband and dad. For me this means plenty of trips to the park, wading down rivers and going fishing with my 4 year old. Sometimes we sing while we’re doing it!
Finally, what do you sing in the shower?
Mostly show tunes. Having spent many years in London, the West End features a lot in shower singing and is also fantastic to belt out!
To find out more about Stephen’s classes visit his Facebook page