Music Success Stories: An Email From Jake Bagby

Our Head of Music, Stuart Birnie, was absolutely delighted to receive a fantastic email from Jake Bagby earlier this month.

Jake received French Horn tuition (in a class setting) from Services For Education and also took part in our Ensembles.

It’s absolutely fantastic to hear that Jake has gone on to graduate from RCM and has had great success, playing in some of London’s most prestigious orchestras.

We are incredibly proud to have been a part of his journey and (with his permission) would like to share his words with you.

An Email From Jake Bagby

Dear Stuart,

I’ve been penning this email in my mind for a while and have only just got around to writing it, but is something I really wanted to send across.

More than anything this is just a thank you and a testimony to the music service and the staggering work you all do.

We had some contact during my time in the music service but you may not remember me! I was a French horn and tenor horn player from 2005-2012

I’ve just finished my first year of freelancing after graduating from the RCM and have been incredibly lucky to have performed with most of London’s major orchestras, including London Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Opera House, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and I’ve also been incredibly lucky to have played Principal Horn with English National Opera and London Chamber Orchestra.

The further I progress in my career, the more and more I get back to thinking that I just wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the opportunities that the music service gave to me. I didn’t ever take regular private lessons on the horn, I just had my 20 minute lesson a week on the French Horn with Andy Sandham, he tutored me from never having played the French horn into successfully auditioning for all of the major conservatories in the UK (taking up my place at the RCM) within two years, which in my mind is absolutely staggering!

But I also had the incredible ensembles (BSTBB, BSBB, BSCO, BSSO and BSBE) conducted by people like Mike Seal, Bob Vivian, Martin Orgill Pete Fisher and James Cunningham, all of which I am absolutely certain played a huge role in providing me with the proper experience and ability going into my college career and beyond.

Really this is an email saying such an enormous thank you to the Birmingham Music Service at Services For Education and advocating its staggering staff and overwhelming capacity to procure talent.

I hope everything is well with you, and I really look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Jake Bagby

It really is emails like this that make the job worthwhile.

Want to find out more?

Our Central Ensembles require an audition and will be open for registration next Spring.

Our Area Ensembles do not require an audition and continue to recruit throughout the year.

If you’d like to find out more about our ensembles, visit the webpage here or feel free to email us at

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