Alison McAusland - Tamworth Highly Commended Entrepreneur of the Year 2019
Updated: Oct 6, 2019
Last night I was delighted to attend the Tamworth Business and Community Awards 2019 as a Finalist in the category 'Entrepreneur of the Year'. It was an incredible evening at Statfold Barn, celebrating the success of local business and community groups in our town.
It was absolutely fantastic to win the 'Highly Commended' award in the Tamworth Entrepreneur of the Year Category, sponsored by The Peel Aldergate.
For me, an entrepreneur is somebody who sees an opportunity to improve things, and takes a risk to make it happen. I'm very proud to have been recognised as an entrepreneur, especially given the calibre of the other nominees.
I created McAusland Music with a simple mission: to improve access to high quality music tuition in Tamworth and the surrounding area. I wanted to remove barriers to learning a musical instrument and enable more people to enjoy learning music on the saxophone and clarinet.
As part of my plan to remove barriers I looked for creative ways to make music more affordable and accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. Many people are unsure about taking the financial risk of buying an instrument before they even have a lesson, so I took on that risk myself and bought a number of instruments designed by a company called Nuvo Instrumental. Nuvo make the lightweight jSAX and Clarinéo which are specifically designed for younger people to allow them to play from an earlier age. I am registered as a UK Ambassador for Nuvo Instrumental.
My students can hire instruments to start learning music without the large cost of purchasing their own instrument from the outset. At the time, I hadn't considered how powerful this could be, and in ways that I had not imagined. As well as youngsters, I found that there were a lot of adults in Tamworth who wanted to try the saxophone or clarinet, and that being able to hire an instrument and 'have a go' was enough to encourage them to get started.
Although my mission initially was focused on the local area, I soon discovered that I could reach people around the world. Working with Your Space Music, I can share the joy of music internationally and have been teaching students across Europe, Africa, Asia and the USA.
I am passionate that everybody should be able to receive high quality tuition with an expert. I am a fully qualified teacher with a First Class Honours Degree from the University of Durham and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from the University of Cambridge. I have years of experience as a classroom teacher at a high school in Barton-Under-Needwood, Staffordshire. I also complete a PG/Cert in Education with the University of Cambridge whilst working as a classroom teacher and this year I completed the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music brand new course 'Becoming a Better Music Teacher'. Education and teaching are at the core of what I do - not only in the sense of teaching others, but also being a reflective learner myself. The path of learning is often unpredictable, and I intend that my students are guided by a teacher who is experienced at planning for their progression and enjoyment.
My own learning continues as I study for the Postgraduate Diploma in Jazz Performance (Saxophone) and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. I am passionate about life-long learning and taking every opportunity to develop and play and learn from other musicians. I am part of the jazz scene in Birmingham and the surrounding area under the instruction of incredible professional jazz saxophonists such as John O'Gallagher, Soweto Kinch, Mike Williams and jazz course leaders such as Andrew Bain and Jeremy Price. The opportunity to perform and meet other musicians at the Conservatoire's own East Side Jazz Club is inspiring.
Being an entrepreneur, as I've said, is about taking risk to improve things. But so is being a musician - you have to admit that you can always get better. You have to go out there and, in the words of Julian Lloyd-Webber (Principal of the RBC), "think hard and make it happen". That's what I'm doing right now at the RBC and as a performer, and that's what I hope my students will get from my teaching.
Receiving this honour reminds me of the people who have helped me get here. Being recognised by the Tamworth Business and Community Awards is an incredible honour but also a good time to say a huge thank you to a number of people.
Thank you to my students, whom I have the privilege of teaching and watching grow as musicians.
Thank you to my husband, Stuart, and our wonderful children who support me as I balance the many parts of who I am, as a mum, musician, teacher and student all at the same time.
Thank you to Tamworth Borough Council Economic Growth and Regeneration department, Blue Orchid Training, Tamworth Growth Hub, FaB Networking, Aliciam Marketing, the Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Future Faces Programme and the organisers of Tamworth Business and Community Awards for the business training, support and networking opportunities you provide in Tamworth that help to make it a great place to live and work.
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