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A passion for music

Musician and Music Educator Katherine Fear (BA Qualified Teacher Status [Arts Ed.], 1991) balances her passions for folk music and teaching. Here she shares how her time at Warwick gave her the confidence to follow her dreams.

What did you enjoy about your course?
It was incredibly varied, including modules on numeracy, literacy, science, IT, music, physical education, geography, and history. It was the work-based aspect of the course that appealed to me the most. Although, as a songwriter, I loved the idea of studying Shakespeare for a year.

What made you choose Warwick?
I heard good things about the Religious Studies programme, and the subsidised trip to visit Israel; the chance to see Israeli and Palestinian schools sounded amazing.

What’s the biggest lesson you learned at Warwick?
The main thing I took away from the experience was the confidence to believe in myself as academically able, and capable of anything I set my mind to.

Were you interested in music at Warwick?
Yes, but I didn’t like the way I had previously been taught it, so I hadn’t planned to study Music Education before starting at Warwick. As an 18-year-old Bob Dylan fan, I walked into a folk club and immediately fell in love with the culture and community. By its very nature, folk music is an ever-evolving entity. I won’t sing a song just because it’s two hundred years old –, it must resonate with me. A traditional love song can touch my heart in a way that many modern, manufactured songs simply can’t.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
If you love to sing and create music, then you will do this regardless of the outcome or the plaudits. For some of us, it is as necessary as breathing. And you may be surprised by all the places it can take you, on many levels. Oh, and say yes to everything!

What are you working on now?
I work four days a week in three different primary schools across Coventry. I get to teach music to classes from nursery-age all the way up to Year 6. Fridays are for my own music. The dream is always for my music to reach a wider audience, which keeps me going! So far this year, we’ve had two premiere performances in February sell out, and we’ve performed at Warwick Folk Festival and Lichfield L2F Folk Festival. As a George Eliot School student, I was honoured to be invited to perform at the Abbey Theatre in Nuneaton at the invitation of the George Eliot Fellowship as part of their 2022 Festival. I’m also a firm believer that education should be accessible to all those who can prosper from it, so will continue to wave that flag!

Catherine holds a ukulele and appears to be singing