Musician’s Corner: Tony Johnson
Tony Johnson is the Head of the Music and Arts Service at Bradford Council. His musical history shows us that even people in formal and senior jobs in music education may not have followed a conventional path.
He’s a West Yorkshire-man through and through, and started playing through his local brass band at the age of 11, joining both Carlton Main and Frickley Colliery Band whilst still at school. As a young man he always wanted to join the Army, and on leaving school he joined the Scots Guards as Junior Musician.
On leaving the Army, he continued his music education at Huddersfield Technical College, playing in local shows and with the Northern Jazz Orchestra, alongside his brass band commitments. After completing Teacher Training in Birmingham, his first formal job in music education was teaching Brass at Worksop College, whilst still playing regularly with both brass and dance bands.
He returned to West Yorkshire soon after, and began working for Bradford Council, where he has remained for – well – quite a few years. Tony has always ensured that young people in Bradford have choices in their musical education, and has done much to support and encourage children with SEND to take up instrumental learning. Bradford is an extraordinary city: 30% of the population are under 20 and 70% are under 50. It has the largest proportion of people of Pakistani heritage (over 20%) in England. All of this informs the activities and provision by Tony and his team.
Yorkshire Youth & Music has worked in partnership with Tony and his team (as the Bradford Hub Lead), across many of our projects and we continue to work together to provide musical provision for children in challenging circumstances across Bradford.