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Meet the Musicians behind the doors - Netty Rhodes - Recorder

Netty Rhodes is originally from Hertfordshire but having lived and worked in London since 1990, London is definitely home.

"I had a career in social work before deciding to pursue professional recorder playing, I trained as a mature student at the Royal College of Music, graduating in 2005."

Netty loves bringing music from hundreds of years ago back to life - especially when it's not been heard in all that time. "I also love to play in consorts of recorders, because as well as creating a heavenly blend of tones, the consort is a fantastic place to try out newly composed material, and to experiment with fresh soundscapes."

With her social work background, the impact of music has a particular interest for Netty "I am intensely interested in the long term impact of playing a musical instrument in childhood. There is such good evidence to show it improves confidence, focus, social skills and even academic achievement. It is becoming ever more difficult for the poorest families to access musical instrument lessons; yet these are the very children who could most benefit. "

This misunderstood and undervalued stick-with-holes can bring true joy, unite communities, and change lives!

On a mission to show that recorder playing is far more than a squeaky rendition of London's Burning, in 201 7 Netty set up SWeet! Recorder Consort CIC to ensure access to high quality recorder lessons for all children in Lambeth, South West London.

SWeet students having fun in front of the camera

"We target children who face special challenges, teaming them up with others at a similar level of recorder skill, and provide a professional solo and ensemble training up to the age of 18. SWeet! students regularly achieve Grade 5 by the age of 11 and Grade 8 by the age of 14. Performing in ensemble, students have won numerous competitions, played at the Royal Festival Hall and even appeared in James Acaster's Perfect Sounds Podcast for the BBC."

"In fact, I am constantly in awe at the secret power of my simple instrument. This misunderstood and undervalued stick-with-holes can bring true joy, unite communities, and change lives!"

Musician Mums Quick Christmas Quiz!

Can you tell us what you'll miss most about performing this Christmas?

The SWeet! Annual Midwinter Concert is a highlight of our year. Students who started in September get to perform solo for the very first time and we always have a big finale piece which is suitable for everyone to play together, from the youngest to the senior students. At the end I put huge tubs of sweets on the floor and after a count of 3 the students take off the lids and scramble to collect as many as possible. They always disappear inside 20 seconds - but the quicker kids always share their haul with those who didn't get so many. Of course! They are a team!

And what's your favourite carol/Christmas song?

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing for the words

Silent Night for the music!

What are you hoping for this year for Christmas?

This year has been truly exhausting as we've got to grips with all the new tech and tried to keep SWeet! going financially. I am longing to spend quality time with my wonderful long-suffering husband and my fabulous daughters (aged 13 & 9).

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory? We found out we were expecting our second child on Christmas Eve. We had been waiting for 22 months; I had got past the point where I was daring to hope; and suddenly she announced her presence in clear blue. Christmas came early that year - and my husband did all the cooking!

And what's your absolutely favourite thing about Christmas ?

Carols by candlelight. My faith is very important to me so it really means something to sing all those old words. I get carried away and belt them out with gusto! I also love the sense of the community coming together in celebration - there's nothing quite like it at any other time of the year. The Church looks magical with all the twinkling candles and it feels like coming home

Finally, give us a hint towards what you're performing on the advent calendar?

My piece isn't very well known but it has a definite Christmassy quality!

Thanks so much Netty!

Find out more about SWeet! Recorder Consort CIC here

Photography by Taylored Photography


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