The Ann Burridge Award

From an early age Ann studied piano cello, and as an adult she taught herself to play the flute just as her father had. She applied to the Royal Academy of Music on leaving school but didn’t actually have the opportunity to sit her L.R.A.M. until she was in her late thirties. At that time, she had to find many hours of time to practise in addition to being a busy mother of three. As well as ticking off scales learnt on her scale chart, she also spent her time making marmalade that wouldn’t set, getting up at first light to go mushrooming, chasing ponies to take to gymkhanas and digging swimming pools in the garden.

When she passed her exams, she began teaching and her family home was then filled with the sound of music lessons. Ann was also the organist at the local church so her weekends were busy with multiple weddings on Saturday and services on Sunday. Ann would play the the organ whilst her children took turns to sit beside her, ‘do the stops’, and whisper which verse we were on, or whether the bride had arrived at the altar.

Over the following 50 years Ann’s extended family of current and former pupils continued to grow. She loved teaching, both children and adults, initially from her home in the New Forest and then in Somerset. Her pupils loved her too and she became a dear friend and mentor to many and kept in touch with them long after they stopped having lessons with her. Ann was so proud of all they went on to achieve.

Ann understood how learning an instrument, singing, and playing together, gave people of all ages not only great pleasure but a sense of achievement, and saw how their confidence and self-esteem then grew alongside this. She encouraged her pupil to continue, to practise, to take another exam, to take part in a music festival or to play in one of her pupil’s concerts. Some of her adult pupils sometimes just had a coffee and half an hour of companionship and duets, but they all left a lesson with her with renewed determination to keep going. 

Ann recognised how helpful music could be in different ways to so many people, but perhaps was especially sensitive to how absorbing and beneficial it could be for those coping with difficult circumstance. She was always generous with her time and considered every pupil to be a friend.

The Ann Burridge Award has been established by Ann’s children who think of it as a fitting way to remember their mother. As Ann used to say when someone tried to thank her or give her gifts, “I’m so lucky, I have everything I need, if you really wish to thank me please do something for someone else.” 

The Ann Burridge Award supports pianists, cellists and flautists in Somerset.

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