100. Simeon Wood: Music makes you feel good

In this milestone 100th episode of Access to Inspiration, Sue Stockdale talks to multi-talented musician, educator, and composer Simeon Wood. With 30 years of experience as a guest entertainer on various cruise lines, Simeon shares his journey of incorporating humour, integrity, and passion into his performances.

Sue and Simeon discuss the importance of having a mentor, overcoming performance anxiety, and finding inspiration in people and places. Simeon also talks about the challenges of relinquishing control in a performance setting, the current state of creativity in music education, and the inspiring work he does in primary schools. Finally, Simeon explores the powerful impact of music on people’s lives and how it can lift them out of difficult situations.

Best known as a flute player, Simeon Wood has entertained audiences for over thirty years playing on an ever-increasing array of unusual instruments, all with unique sounds. His work as an itinerant musician has led Simeon to play in extraordinary venues that range from caves to castles, palaces to giant redwood forests as well as the more conventional festivals, cruise ships, halls, theatres and art centres. When he’s not touring, Simeon is regularly commissioned to write music for television and theatre productions and has appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, the BBC’s One Show and the Chris Evans Breakfast show.

Connect with Simeon Wood at his website :  Facebook:  LinkedIn; Spotify  

Simeon Wood Key Quotes

  • The first instrument that I invented was the walking stick flute.
  • I think humour breaks down a lot of barriers, as does music.
  • it’s important that you understand that as an entertainer, that you’re not just performing at people, but you’re performing with people.
  • I had a teacher that said the difference between a professional and an amateur is that the amateur will practice something until they get it right. A professional will practice something until they can’t get it wrong.
  • People give me a lot of inspiration. Kindness of people. The emotions that I see in people’s faces, inspires me to write because I want to capture it.
  • Words speak a particular message, but music speaks a different language.
  • I want people to be happier and, take them away from some of the difficulties in life.

Time Stamps

[00:03:11] The importance of humour in music
[00:07:51] Inspiration to learn flute.
[00:11:38] Practicing like a professional.
[00:22:16] Inspiring children with music.
[00:26:06] Bringing families together.
[00:29:36] Bringing joy to prisoners.
[00:33:53] Listen to ‘Feeling Good’.

This series is kindly supported by Squadcast –the remote recording platform which empowers podcasters by capturing high-quality audio and video conversations.

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Simeon Wood Transcription

0:00:14 Sue: Hi. I’m Sue Stockdale, host of the Access to Inspiration podcast, where we hope that you will be inspired by people who may be unalike you. I hope that their stories and insights cause you to reflect on the world just a little bit differently. And I’m excited today to record our hundredth episode. And our guest is a multi talented musician, educator and composer, Simeon Wood. I first met Simeon about ten years ago when he entertained audiences on a cruise ship that I was on. And his music is inspiring. He’s kindly given us a recording of one of his tracks from his latest album Feeling Good, and you’ll be able to hear it at the end of our interview. Welcome, Simeon.

Simeon : Thanks Sue and a delight to see you again after so long.

0:00:59 Sue: Yes. We are speaking here whilst en route to Antarctica, and we’re actually in the Drake passage today on board ship. So if you do hear any background noises listener, then I do apologize. It might be an iceberg sailing by or some other thing on our ship. That’s the reality of life on board ship, isn’t it Simeon.

Simeon : It is it is a delight and a wonder. It’s a wonder that that we get through anything without disruption.

0:01:24 Sue: And somebody might ask a question of you, Simeon. What is a guy like you with all these talents doing onboard a cruise ship in the first place?

Simeon: Well, all cruise ships well most cruise ships have a guest entertainer on board, and I’ve been a guest entertainer the last thirty years on various cruise lines about thirty years of traveling the seas and entertaining folks with my music.

Sue: Now, I’ve seen your show, which is absolutely amazing because you play quite a myriad of different instruments. So tell us now about what instruments you do play.

Simeon: Well, the one I’m perhaps most famous for is playing the flute, but once I got to a certain level on the flute, I start to to diversify whether they’re instruments that your listeners would know, whistles, penny whistles, celtic whistles, the recorder, the saxophone, the clarinet, and then I started learning a few more unusual instruments and objects I could tell you about the different objects see if you like.

Sue: Well, let’s just dive straight in there.

Simeon: Okay. So the first objects that are instruments that I kind of invented was the walking stick flute. So I took an NHS walking stick and I fashioned it into a flute. So it looks exactly like a walking stick, and you can use it as a walking stick, but you can also play it as a flute. So that brings a visual element very much and a humorous element into the show. And then my other great fun one is the bicycle pump, the old fashioned long black plastic bicycle pump. With the fabric pipe or tube at the end that feeds the air into the tire, and I use that to create music. I want to say beautiful music. But it is a laugh. Yeah.

0:03:04 Sue: And whilst you’re talking here, Simeon, you’re really illustrating that sense of humour that you have. Why do you think that’s important to bring that to your music as well?

Simeon: Oh, I think it communicates. I think humour breaks down all the barriers. As does music, it speaks to people in different ways. It makes people relax and and it creates a bond between you and the audience. Unless, basically, when you’re working on stage, it isn’t you and the audience. It’s you together with the audience. They’re two very much part and parcel of a show. You can’t have one without the other, and it’s important that you understand that as an entertainer, that you’re not just performing at people. You are performing with people.

0:03:45 Sue: And I’m wondering when in your career? When did you learn that lesson? Because I’m imagining as a young Simeon when he started out with the flute and then graduated on to actually performing. Was that how you viewed things?

Simeon: Yeah. It started as performing at and being nervous to get the right notes in the right order, as Morecambe and Wise  would say. And I think it was very gradual process of understanding and seeing and watching people and understanding how they communicated with an audience, and that its not just about playing the right notes in the right order, and its not just about playing a particular interpretation, but it’s about putting yourself into the music and having that integrity and that realness in front of people. And I first understood it, one would have thought through James Gallwey, fellow flautist of some some note, but it was really a chance meeting of wanting to see a flautist called Eugenia Zuckerman.

0:04:44 I was studying at Trinity College at time in London. And we were given free tickets, which always inspires a Yorkman to go ahead to the show. And so I went with other friends to watch the show. Oh, really, to focus my attention on Eugenia Zuckerman the flautist. However, when I got there, the other two accompanying her was a double bass player and a piano player.

0:05:08 And right from the start, My eyes were glued on the double bass player, a man called Gary Carr. And he lived the music every fiber of his being moved to the music, his expressions, his facial expressions married so well with what he was playing, and that communicated as much as the audio. And I thought, that is what I want do. That is the kind of player that I want to be is to be able to communicate through every expression, through every feeling. Through the laughter, through the smiles, through the movement, everything. That is a consummate musician for me, and it engages with and communicates to every audience.

0:05:55 Sue: And how did therefore did you begin to develop your style for yourself to be able to match what you saw.

Simeon: Yeah. Well, for every musician listening to this wherever you are on the scale of musicianship, Find music that speaks to you. Play music that you understand or that you want to communicate to somebody else. That is the best way to engage with any audience is playing music that you want to play and you will enjoy. And that enjoyment even if they don’t like the music, that enjoyment will come across to an audience. So that is a great piece of advice for anybody out there wherever you are in your musical career.

0:06:37 Sue: So where did that career start for young Simeon? When did you learn the flute or begin to have an interest in music?

Simeon: Yeah. Well, like a lot of children in the sixties and seventies, I learned I started learning the recorder. It was the Ukulele of its day. Ukulele seems to be the most popular instrument for children to start on because it’s small it’s easy to manipulate and you can quite instantly play a beautiful sound on the ukulele. And the recording not so, you do need a little bit more guidance the recorder. I started playing the recorder. At school, we all had lessons. That was just part and parcel of the system in those days.

0:07:19 And whilst I was a primary school, the age of six, a wind quintet came into my school to entertain us and to educate us  and the horseshoe of the wind quintet you’ve got, the French horn, bassoon, clarinet, oboe, and then the flute player is on one of the ends of the horseshoe and leads the other four. And so I was very close to the flute player and I’d never seen a flute this was before James Gallwey made it a popular instrument. And I was entranced, by the way, it moved, the way it sounded, the things that he was playing just the way that he was able to manipulate the keys and the flow of the music. And even at at six, it was magical. It was a magical moment. And I knew that I wanted to be or I wanted to play the flute, you know, I wanted to be a flautist, but I knew I wanted to be able to play the flute like that. And so it took a few years to persuade my parents, cautious parents that were. And they saved the money up to buy me a new flute, twenty pounds was a long time ago. And they saved the money up, bought me flute and got me lessons and that was the very start.

And if I could go on and tell you my flute teacher who I had then for the next three and a half years, and I look back now and it was the most important relationship I ever had at that age. He was not just a great flute player. He was also a great teacher. And the two don’t always go together in music. He can either be one or the other, but he was both. He’s only nineteen. Wow. But he was a wonderful guide as well, not just in music, but in life in general. And I just so wanted do my very best every single lesson. I wanted to make him happy with my playing. And so that was the inspiration that he gave me. And he nurtured my playing and guided me forward for those three and a half years. Then he left and then I didn’t see him again. There is an end to the story which I might tell you towards the end of the podcast.

Sue: Oh, wonderful. So sounds like that mentor that guidance was inspiring in of itself.

Simeon: Yeah. And still is. I still look back on that time. I still got the lessons that he gave me back in nineteen seventy one. I think he was January seventy two, so I’d still only be eight years old. So do the math, listener. And, yeah, I can see the lesson as I look through his handwriting and — Yeah. — it was just a meticulous guy and wonderful nature. Yeah. So from that early start and learning the instrument — Mhmm.

Sue: how did you then develop it as a career?

Simeon: Well, during lessons, so from eight onwards. (0:10:02) My hometown of Huddersfield where I still live is a very musical town. I’m sure a lot of people say their town is musical. But the number of choirs are not all orchestras and brass bands, there were six youth orchestras for children. Wow. It’s a little town. Yeah. And you you grew through them and you would nurture through them. So from the age of nine, until I was eighteen. I played in the six orchestras. Yeah. Six orchestras all together. I played in the orchestras and then went off to music college. But I still wasn’t a performer at that time.

0:10:35 Simeon: I was very nervous about playing in public. And I remember having a master class with a lady the late now, Atarah Ben-Tovim, with the great inspiring character in the music world, not just as a flute player, but in music in general. And I was petrified absolutely petrified. And it was the days of flared trousers when they were out for the first time, by the way, any young ones listening. And I remember thinking that I just felt like a yacht on the water. My flight trousers were flapping so much because of the nerves. And I got through it and every time I played in front of people, the nerves just they competed with that desire to play and and it spoiled it. I could only focus on how nervous I was and what people must think.

Sue: So how did you overcome that nervousness?

Simeon: Well, it’s probably been said before, but preparation is absolutely key. And If you’re going to bookmark any part of this podcast, this is the part you need to bookmark. (0:11:38) I had a teacher that said the difference between a professional and an amateur is that the amateur will practice something until they get it right. A professional will practice something until they can’t get it wrong. That’s a very important task. I hope that makes some sense. So you practice to the extent that it is impossible for things to go wrong. And then you tend to relax so much more and you can enjoy it. When you enjoy it and relax, so do the audience. And if they’re relaxed, you’re even more relaxed. And it just makes for a much better performance.

0:12:16 Simeon: So practice practice practice practice practice and constant playing in front of people. Yeah. And bizarrely, the smaller the number, the harder it is.

Sue: What do you think makes the difference then?

Simeon: The most I’ve ever played in front of is twenty thousand people okay. And this was the thing called Carfest that Chris Evans used to run. I don’t know if that’s still going now. And I played to twenty thousand people and they were completely anonymous. I couldn’t see any of their faces. They were so distant. There were so many of them. And I think that’s probably what makes a difference. If there are fewer numbers, you generally can see every one of them and feel their reaction. If there’s twenty thousand, you don’t. So it makes it a little bit more nerve wracking.

0:12:58 Sue: So we’ve been talking about the evolution of your playing and then going into performing. Simeon What about composition then? Because I know you’ve written a lot of music and you’ve produced a lot of albums. How did you then evolve into that?

0:13:15 Simeon: This is a bit you don’t bookmark, okay. So the first time I wrote anything, it was a Christmas carol and it was a Christmas Carol competition. And there was a price of a two pound fifty W H Smith Voucher. And that was the inspiration for me to write by very first piece of music. So it was monetary. It was financial. So, yeah, that’s what inspired me to write. And It was because I won that competition. If I hadn’t won it, I may not have written again, but someone saw something in my writing. And so I thought, well, if they believe in me, then I should as well. And I carried on composing after that.

0:13:57 And the other reason was later on, I was gathering all these instruments, so the pan pipes and canas and lots of South American instruments are passionate about their music of that great continent. And I wasn’t being able to find any music, so I would write music that was appropriate. One for my skill level on those instruments, and two, to play music in a style that a Western audience would enjoy. Because playing South American music in Huddersfield, it isn’t quite the same as playing in South America. So you have to westernize some of these sounds. It was a great group called Incantation made up of westerners, professional, classical players, a lot of them from Ballet Rambert, and they played South American music in a western style for the western market.

0:14:45 Sue: What you’re reminded me of is one of the previous guests that we have in the podcast episode thirty five, we spoke to Chris Tolley who was a composer. And one of the things that he reflected upon was how important environment was for him. He lives in East Lothian in Scotland. And every day, he can see nature all around him, and that inspires his composing informs him. So where do you get your inspiration from to think I want to sit and write something?

0:15:09 Simeon: People give me a lot of inspiration, kindness of people, emotions that I see in people faces, that kind of thing. That inspires me to write because I kind of want to capture it. It was a great French composer called Saint-Saëns who wrote a collection of works called the Carnival of the Animals. And in it, he wanted to capture the personality of the animals that he remembered seeing at the Paris zoo. And that for me is what music’s about. Its capturing a story. It’s capturing a moment. It’s capturing emotion. It’s capturing a place. Like Chris Tolley was it? And I think that’s important to tell a story with the music and not necessarily just create sound, a soundscape, but to create a story to go with it. So people are very important, and many people have given me reason to write music, either through their kindness or through seeing different emotions on their face or experiences that I’ve had and one that comes to mind because we’re in South America was flying into Punta Arenas for the very first time.

0:16:10 And I felt as I travel to the end of the world. I’ve been to Australia and New Zealand many times, but considering it just seemed when I came out of the airport and looked around, I’d thought I’d reach the end of the world.

Sue: There is nothing much there.

Simeon: There’s nothing much there and you feel so maybe you took another step and you’d fall off the edge of it. It’s a strange I think it’s also a very, very long arduous journey from Huddersfield. So not that I walked, but I took the plane, but it’s still very, very, very difficult. And I was the very last one out of the airport because of security checks.

When I got there, there was just one taxi driver left I had no money, one because I’m a Yorkshireman and two, at that time wasn’t that very well traveled. And this taxi driver took pity on me. And he took me the I don’t know. What is it? Fifteen kilometres from the airport to Punta Arenas, free of charge, and booked me into hotel. And I thought, how kind of that man who had no idea who I was. And he had, you know, very little in the way of money and so and I just thought that was I was so generous of spirit. So I wanted to catch that moment in a piece and I wrote a piece of music with a very tacky title called Warm in Chile because he was very warm hearted and we were in Chile And so I wrote that piece, and every time I hear it, I see him. I mean, I’ll never meet him again. But I just see that moment.

It was a very personal reason for writing that.

Sue: and listener on this particular travel that Simeon’s on Simeon’s suitcase didn’t arrive, but Simeon did. So I’m envisioning now as composing a piece of music called the Lost trousers, something like Lost trousers.

Simeon: The Lost trousers, the Lost yeah, everything. Oh my goodness. It is a nightmare travel sometimes. But yes, so people inspire me and situations. And of course, the beauty of this world inspires me as well. Yeah.

0:18:07 Sue: So given that you’ve done a lot of travel because you’ve been working and performing on on cruise ships, around the world for almost thirty years now. Yeah. What challenges have you faced? When hasn’t it worked out? What would you say have been some of the obstacles or challenges along the way?

Simeon: Well, this isn’t a particularly fair account, but quite often when you’re traveling, you’re working with people you’ve never met before you’re working with people you’ve never met and within quite a confined environment and you’ve got very little time and space in order to put the show together. (0:18:38) And that for me is very much out my comfort zone. And I think it’s because I’m not in control of all the other aspects, the lighting, the sound, stage management. I’m not in charge of where my luggage is for example this particular trip. So I do struggle with that. Back home. I’m self contained. So when I come out to a ship, it is one of the difficulties that I have to overcome. And I do have to surrender a lot of that control. And just give it up and say, well, you know, someone else who knows better than me knows how the desk works, how the lighting works, they have to do their thing. That’s what they paid for. That’s what they’re good at. Just leave it to them. And generally, it does work out. But when he doesn’t, I then lose the vocabulary to try and make that work again. So that for me is the big struggle.

0:19:25 Yeah. So you’re not just performing solo. You are actually part of a team that is the production around you. Yeah. And I have to say I am not a team player. I was told probably about twenty years ago you’re either a team player or you’re not a team player and you generally know this in your late teens early twenties. Well, looking back now, I knew when I was twenty, I wasn’t a team player. I opted out of orchestral work. I love orchestral music, but playing in such a big team being directed by one person I did struggle with.

0:19:59 Sue:  One of the things that I’ve certainly noticed in the world of music is that creativity seems in a way sometimes to be getting more and more removed. As music becomes a bit more formulaic, very often. I’m wondering what would you agree with me? Would you recognize that in a different way?

Simeon: I agree because my son is taking GCSE music because it’s now they call it now. And I would say it’s very formulaic. And I get why it’s formulaic in the way that they teach it in the way that they have to take their exams. (0:20:29) Because music or creativity is subjective. A piece of art to you could be beautiful to me. I just want to understand it. And the same with music to our ear, maybe that’s something to do with the way we brought up and the kind of music that we’ve played in our home. But the way that it’s taught at the moment is that you, for example, my son is writing a piece of music for flute and piano. And he has to have so many bars of the scale passage. That scale passage inverted and then that scale passage of variation upon that.

Now that for me has already ruined creativity, but I get why they do it. Because how do you mark something that can be so subjective unless there is guidance? But once you’ve done that a little bit like taking your driving test you practice so you pass your driving test, then once you pass your driving test. That whole ten to two mirror signal maneuver seems to go out of the window. Does it are we driving one hand on the steering wheel, a cup of coffee? Maybe we don’t drink a cup of coffee in the event. And its the same with music. You know, once you’ve learned the basics, hopefully, then you’re free to fly. Yeah. So I would say that there is a lot of creativity and people are breaking through maybe the constraints But this is society in general is new. The different styles of music that come along tend to be breaking free of the previous chains of a particular type of music or creativity. Absolutely. That’s where innovation comes from. Yeah. Sure. Sure. No.

0:22:03 Sue: You brought the subject around to schools. Simeon And I know you’re now going into schools. I know the project. So what does that involve?

Simeon: So I think it’s because I was inspired by someone coming into my school. I wanna give that back. So I go into primary schools, not senior schools. I have gone into senior schools, but I tend to find a little bit of a wall, but with primary schools, I don’t so four year olds to eleven year olds is ideal for me. (0:22:30) And I take a presentation called the flute emporium, which is a show of about forty minutes and I play the different instruments that I’ve gathered around the world and also made some of the silly ones like the bicycle pump and the crutch and a thing called an udder bot, which isn’t my invention. I saw this guy on YouTube who made one. And it’s a glass bottle, beer bottle, any glass bottle will do. With the bottom sawn off, And then to the bottom, you strap a rubber glove that hangs loose down. Then you fill the rubber glove with water from the top of the bottle. And blow across the bottle. So it produces one note. In order to change the note higher, you squeeze the rubber glove which is the other and the water rises in the bottle and therefore creates a different note. Below the note, you release your grip on the other and the water falls. It’s not an exact science, but that’s what makes it so funny because you don’t ever quite hit the nose. And the kids love that, particularly when the water comes out of the of the neck of the bottle.

0:23:44 So I take that into schools and it’s really to inspire children not to take up the flute necessarily, but to think about having music in their lives, to listen to live music, to see live music. That’s also important. And maybe to think about being part of a music group, choir or an orchestra or if they are playing an instrument already to inspire them and motivate them to carry on. That’s also important. As I found with Gary Carr double bass player, it doesn’t matter what instrument it is. If the inspiration is there, then you will be inspired. Yeah. For sure.

Sue: That sounds like a wonderful opportunity for young children to learn and be inspired from you, Simeon.

Simeon: And I would say the teachers as well get a lot from it. Yeah. The staff do too. So they learn and then they understand. And then they take what they’ve seen into the classroom. I’ve got a work sheet that they use in order. They can write like a little critique of the show. They can design an outfit for me. So Some of them, they’re all crayoned of course, and they’re hilarious and lovely and very sweet, or they can design a a new album cover for me. And there’s word searches and lots of things that they can do, some games that they can do as well. So, yeah, I I love doing it because I see is instant. I see the response instantly and the wow factor is fantastic.

0:25:08 A different type of audience to perform with. Oh, yeah. Oh, yes. Gosh. One lad was four years old. It was it was just sat there cross legged and it was just really intently watching and then I played the bicycle pump And at the end, now you will listeners cannot see this, but he put his head in his hands just like my mom would have done when I was six years old. Like in despair, like what possessed you to play the bicycle pump, which really amused me. Just it just looked like an older person and look at his child and going, I just give up. It’s very funny.

0:25:55 Sue: I love these stories that you’re sharing with us to me, and And I know that you introduced something in the virtual context that you’re calling live in the lounge, Is that brought on by lockdown?

Simeon: It was I very quickly I tooled up,  in order to be able to film live shows. Generally, it started off on Facebook. It then went on to YouTube. For a larger audience. And it was all about at that time, it was all about bringing people together because even if we were just a hundred yards away from our family, we couldn’t go and visit. So I came up with this idea of performing concerts that families, not just a hundred yards away, but from all over the world, could tune into at any one particular time and be together and so they were watching the same show and they were able to comment and text one another as the show was going along. So it brought families together The other nice thing was that I could do shout outs to knowing who was watching. So I could say, Auntie Lily in South Africa, your niece or nephew sent their love from Manchester. So it really did bring people together and it was a feel good factor.

0:26:54 And I think with all everything that I do, whether I’m playing for a WI or playing in prisons or a hospice or a school or on a cruise ship on the way to Antarctica is all about changing people and making a happier environment, changing that environment and making it a happier place. Motivating people.

Sue: Well, I really get that sense from the energy that you’re introducing into your conversation with the passion that you have for music and for conveying the love that you have of it to your audience and to other people.

Simeon: You know, even though I’ve been talking a lot, I’m not a great communicator. I’d much prefer to communicate through music. And I think it speaks a different message to everybody. Words speak a particular message, but music speaks a different language. And has very different meanings to different people. Either because we attach memories to pieces of music, I could play ‘what a wonderful world’. To an audience like last night, and everybody will have a different memory of that piece. Some sad and poignant, some upsetting, but some celebratory. Some people have walked down the aisle to them. Some will have followed our coffin into a church with the same piece of music. So it means different things. And you play that music and that memory comes flooding back, and it doesn’t matter how bad your memory is, that piece of music will bring something to the table.

Sue: What do you think your legacy, will be if you like? Not that we want you to finish playing music now. An end. But as you advance in your career in the future in your life, what do you think you want your legacy to be to the world.

Simeon: Sue that’s that’s hard. That’s really hard. Without sounding to be too cheesy, I think I just want to make it a better place through music. Yeah. I want people to be happier and and maybe take people away from some of the difficulties in life just for a moment. (0:28:48) When I played in the prison just before lockdown, And I’m a little bit scared of of playing in this particular prison. And I was doing a show to four hundred men which hadn’t realized that they paid to come and see the show and various prices from one pound to five pounds. They’ve paid. And the money was going towards instruments and so inmates could learn musical instruments. To going for some good. And it was an austere environment. Even before I got into the prison, the number of doors to be locked and closed behind you before you got anywhere at all and then the wire and it was just very oppressive. But for that one and a half hours that I played and there was no interval because I was reminded that they would can’t take them all back to their cells and then bring them back. So it was an hour and a half And I thought, how do I keep four hundred men between the age of eighteen and nineteen? From all walks of life, how do I keep them entertained for an hour and a half But, you know, for that hour and a half, I changed that place.

0:29:51 They weren’t in prison anymore. And I felt it was amazing for me as it was for them. I just couldn’t believe it. It just changed not just the dining hall we were in, dining hall five, It was it was the whole and I looked around at them and I saw the prison officers and everybody was so relaxed. And they forgot where they were, who they were. And I think that would be a wonderful legacy to have brought people out of difficult times. And the same when I go into hospices and hospitals, it’s changing people, allowing people to be removed from a difficult situation.

Sue: Well, that’s hugely powerful and inspiring as I’m listening to you, Simeon. I’m just thinking about your parents and that twenty pound investment that showed me that it was a very good deal.

Simeon: Yeah. They did. Especially my dad because twenty years on from buying that flute, he sold it for twenty pounds. Great. Yorkshireman my dad. And an accountant. Yeah.

0:30:50 Sue: Now you mentioned at the start about your teacher who’d had a significant impact on you. And how does that story end then?

Simeon: Right. The story ends by me desperately wanting to find him over the years and find out where he was and what he done with his musical career. And more than that to thank him for that start. I wanted him to know what he’d done for me for my life. My career. (0:31:15) And seven years ago now, I eventually found him quite by chance. He wasn’t on social media. And he wasn’t called by the name that I knew him. But I found a picture and I thought, well, that’s not him. It’s his dad. And so I emailed him and said, if this is you, then read on. If it’s not, just let me know. And he wrote back and said, yes, it was me and I love to hear what I’ve done in my career. And he said, I’m still in France. Still living in France because he’d gone over to study at the Paris conservatory. I’m still in France. And I’m going to come over to England that we should meet up.

0:31:59 And he was very, very emotional meeting because I had not seen him for forty odd years. And so we shared our stories. I told him what I’d done and the albums that I’d made and the other teachers that I had and what an inspiration that he was. And I said, what about you? And he said, well, he said after getting that scholarship, I then bought myself a new flute and went out into the world and tried to be the flute player that you have become. However, after a few years of trying, I realized that I wasn’t going to do it and I didn’t have the support that I needed and I needed money So in his words, he took on a proper job, and he worked in the oil industry, and he put his flute away that day, in his box, put the box in his sock drawer, and it remained there for forty five years, and I never touched it.

0:33:00 And at that point, he delved into his bag. He pulled out his flute and he said, and this is the flute. And I’d like you to have it. And he gave me the flute. And he said flutes are beautiful objects, but they have a purpose. And that purpose is to be played. And the purpose of playing is to entertain people and to bring joy to their lives. And I want you to do that with this in treatment. So he did. And I do.

Sue: You must treasure that flute.

Simeon: Yeah. That does not go in the hold of an airline that will be remain nameless.

Sue: It’s been a real honor to speak to you today, Simeon and and to get your story and feel your inspiration from how you’re sharing your story. (0:33:48)  If our listener wants to find out more about you and your music, and listen as well to some of those amazing tracks. How can they do that?

Simeon: So I have a website which is SimeonWood.co.uk You can also find me on Facebook and Linkedin and other social media platforms. And you can find my music on platforms like Spotify and Play and Google and Amazon Play. And you can download my music or listen to it stream it or you can buy the hard copy CDs. Anybody out there who still got CD players in their cars or at home? And you can do that again through my website. So that’d be lovely to hear from you.

Sue: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much again for your time today. I hope that we continue to enjoy fair weather and calm seas on our trip.

Simeon: Same here. Thank you so very much.

Sue: Well, I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. (0:34:41) I think Simeon highlighted the ethos of this podcast when he shared the story about the flute teacher who said that each flute has a purpose. And needs to be played to bring enjoyment to others. Isn’t it just like that with people? Well, our aim has been to bring out the brilliant in our guests. In these hundred episodes, and we hope that each conversation has brought enjoyment to you, the listener. I have an ask of you you like our podcasts, please share an episode with just one other person. That way, we will be able to inspire more people around the world. Remember, to follow us whatever platform you’re listening on, so you can listen to the next series as soon as it’s published, and you can keep connected with us on social media. Finally, as a bonus from Simeon Wood, here is the title track from his latest album, Feeling Good, to give you more inspiration.


Sound Editor: Matias de Ezcurra
Producer: Sue Stockdale