News and stories Stories Katie Hawcutt My passion for music began at an early age. As the daughter of two musicians I grew up immersed in a world of music and creativity. Although a classically trained flautist in my early years I went on to study the saxophone in my teens and thanks to a couple of awe-inspiring teachers I began to develop a life-long love of jazz and improvisation. From a young age I was involved in Severn Arts ensembles which was a fantastic experience for me. I started out in Area Music Centres and progressed through the Intermediate Bands and into the Youth Ensembles – most notably the Worcestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra (WYJO) and the Worcestershire Youth Wind Orchestra (WYWO). I learnt so much from being part of these groups and there is no doubt that they contributed to my love for music and helped to lead me into a career in music. After school I went on to study on the BA (Hons) Jazz course at Leeds College of Music and during my time there I gained an in-depth knowledge of performance and improvisation from some world-class musicians and tutors. This has since led to my involvement not only in a number of jazz ensembles but also a diverse range of pop and rock bands. Doubling on all the saxophones, flute, clarinet and piccolo I work regularly in pit orchestras in many theatres across the region and I am also currently on a nationwide tour with UK Pink Floyd Experience. I have now been teaching for over ten years and working for Severn Arts for the last three (teaching saxophone, flute, clarinet, music theory and ensemble work). Working for Severn Arts has been special for me because it has allowed me to give back to a service that contributed so much to my life. It is amazing to have come full circle and now my favourite parts of my job are conducting WYJO2 and coaching WYWO. I am super passionate about music education and especially the inclusive work that Music Services do because I believe that the joy, fun and sense of achievement that learning an instrument or singing together brings is a powerful uniting experience that enriches and changes lives.