Today we’re joined by Hazel Spain, an accomplished musician and author of the book, “Music, Anxiety, and Me: How to Transform Your Life by Learning the Violin!” She is also a professional violinist who teaches others how to play through her business, Hazel’s Violin School.
Hazel has a passion for teaching others how they can transform their lives through music, and emphasizes that you don’t need to be a professional musician to accomplish that. She shares her personal journey of how the violin has improved her life and management of anxiety. She also discusses her violin teaching business and how she came to write her book.
*Please excuse a couple of instances where the audio dropped due to internet connection difficulties.
On this episode of the Live. Love. Engage. podcast:
- Insight into Hazel’s childhood and how these experiences impacted her.
- Why Hazel decided to write her book.
- How anxiety fits into Hazel’s life and music.
- How Hazel was brought up and who cared for her.
- When her anxiety became the most apparent.
- Why the violin happened to be her instrument of choice.
- What prompted Hazel to start her teaching business.
- Why Hazel feels compelled to share her experience.
- How her school experience was influenced by learning the violin.
- The importance of teaching music in schools.
- How music expanded Hazel’s social circle.
- What mental health looks like among musicians.
- What the aim of Hazel’s teaching is and her core message.
- How writing a book impacted Hazel emotionally.
- The freebie Hazel is offering to listeners and where to find it.
Connect with Hazel
Hazel’s Email: email (at) hazelsviolinschool.com
Hazel’s Violin School Website: https://hazelsviolinschool.com/
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- The Live. Love. Engage. Book
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[00:00:02] I am Gloria Grace Rand, founder of the Love Method and author of the number one Amazon Best Seller, Live Love Engage How to Stop Doubting Yourself and start being yourself. In this podcast, we share practical advice from a spiritual perspective on how to live fully. Love deeply and engage authentically so you can create a life and business with more impact, influence and income. Welcome to live love. Engage.
[00:00:37] Namaste and welcome to live love engage. I am Gloria Grace Rand, your host and I am delighted to have a lovely young woman on the show with us today, someone that I actually met through the Women’s Speakers Association. And her name is Hazel Spain, and I’m going to tell you all about her in a minute. But first, I want to welcome you, Hazel to live, love, engage.
[00:01:04] Thank you, Gloria. Thank you so much for having me on the podcast. I’m a huge fan and I feel really honored to be here today. So thank you.
[00:01:12] Well, thank you. Thank you. It’s the honor is all mine, and I’m going to tell our guests about this accomplished musician and published author. So how about that? She is she’s the author of a book called Music, Anxiety and Me. And but before that, she’s the proud owner of Hazel’s violin school. She’s a professional violinist who’s been playing professionally for over 20 years and also teaching violin privately and in schools for the vast majority of that time. And she teaches beginners to advance students and kids as young as four up to adults as old as 80. So even I at the not quite sixty yet, I got a little bit more to go. I suppose I could even learn how to play the violin, but what I loved about Hazel story is that she has a real passion for helping others learn how they can transform their lives through music. And you don’t actually need to be a professional musician to accomplish that. And that’s what we’re really going to start talking about today, especially especially about her book. As I mentioned, it’s called Music Anxiety and me, and I thought we’ll start actually right there. So why did you decide to write a book? And then maybe you can tell us afterwards how you came up with that title? What that’s all about?
[00:02:43] Yeah, so well, first and foremost, I never intended to write a book. It happened completely by accident, and to be honest, I would never have considered myself or don’t consider myself to be a natural writer or anything like that. And I was good at English, at school, but I wasn’t considered a gifted writer, you know? So it came about because I met an entrepreneur at a business event just before lockdown. The infamous lockdown of 2020 and my business was actually just starting, so I had taught the violin. As you said, throughout my life, taught in schools, taught privately. But circumstances that I do go into in the book kind of dictated that I had to get a kind of regular nine to five job. Is 19 that I decided to really I wasn’t happy with what I was doing, I was commuting, I was so tired with the commute. I wasn’t seeing my son and I really, really missed music and music is what I’ve always done. You know, I went to music school and then music college, and it’s just it’s just in my blood, you know? So I was like, I really want to go back to music, but if I’m going to do it, I want to make it viable.
[00:04:01] So anyways, I went to these business events and this particular one before lockdown, I met this entrepreneur and he just so happened to own a publishing company and we got talking. And, you know, he said, You’ve got a really interesting story. I’m sure it could help, you know, other people. And he said, you should really write a book. And at the time, I was like, No, I don’t think so like I can. I couldn’t see it. So we kind of forgot about it. And then lockdown happened and and obviously, my business was in its very early stages because all I was really planning on doing was really having kids come to the house, maybe adults as well, just regular teaching. But you know, as when lockdown happened, I couldn’t take on any students and things started to move online. So I was kind of at a loose end. And I saw on Facebook actually that this entrepreneur that I had met was running a five day book writing challenge. And so I initially signed up and then I think it was about the day before I got cold feet and I was like, You know what, actually, I don’t think this is for me, like, I do.
[00:05:08] And he’s like, Why don’t you
[00:05:09] Just stick with it and see how you get on? So it was kind of born from there, and five days turned into 90 days. And then we have a book a book out of it. So that was kind of how it happened.
[00:05:22] Well, that’s amazing. So I’m very proud of you for sticking with it because a lot of times and I know I’m even guilty of this. It’s like we’d start these challenges, but then we don’t finish them. But I love the fact that you were able to do that, and even I’m more impressed with the fact that you actually got a finished book out of it in 90 days because it took me a lot longer than that to get my book done. So that’s something to you. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about the title. So it talks about anxiety. So how did that fit into your life and music?
[00:05:57] So I have. So the book itself, it’s it’s my biography and it’s really it’s called music, anxiety and me how to transform your life by learning the violin. And so when I was a child, I I really suffered with anxiety, and that was brought on by real instability in my childhood, and I left with my grandparents. I was brought up by them, and that’s because my parents were both alcoholics. And so I witnessed some unsettling things in my early childhood. And eventually, the court showed that my my grandparents would become like my legal guardians. But as a result of what I’d witnessed and my mom, I mean, it wasn’t as though she didn’t love me because she always
[00:06:45] Did, but
[00:06:47] She had suffered traumas herself and her life, and that kind of meant that she projected that onto me without meaning to. So I grew up being a very anxious little girl.
[00:06:58] I was hyper
[00:06:59] Vigilant and up until about the age of three, I was actually kind of in between homes because my dad and mom were separated, but my dad was living with his parents, my grandparents at that time. And so he took me to live with them. But then my mom would call unexpectedly after maybe weeks or months, and she would
[00:07:18] Want me back
[00:07:19] And my grandparents would have to take me back. And so I think as I as a really young child, I just was kind of been shifted from pillar to post and sort of not sure where I was going to be for any length of time. So that manifested itself as anxiety, and that really became apparent when I was about about eight. And at school in particular, I would get really upset. Of course, I couldn’t verbalize any of it because I didn’t know what was going on. And the teachers didn’t know what to do with me, either because it was the 90s. I don’t know what you think, Gloria, but I feel as though mental health wasn’t really spoken about as much back then. So I just I really, really struggled. And eventually, what happened was my my grandma bless her. You know, she got me into therapy, child child therapy, and that really helped. But I was really miserable at school and I had this teacher in particular, and it was I remember it being like primary three. So we’re about eight and I was eight. And, you know, I would burst into tears for no reason, and he would just tell the other children to ignore me. And on one occasion, he made me actually stand facing a wall. And I just have these memories of school being a very unforgiving place, you know? But one day there was a knock at the classroom door and a familiar face popped your head around the door and I recognized her as the school’s violin teacher.
[00:08:51] And I had, yeah, I’d spotted the older girls with their violin cases and I thought, You know what? That is a bit of me. I want to do that. I really do. And I didn’t know. I didn’t know what. I knew what the violin was to an extent. But I heard the older girls play and concerts with the skill, you know, and I just thought I really wanted something just so she was asking for volunteers. And I put my hand up and I got chosen, and the rest is history. I just took to it like a duck to water, and it just completely. I ended up, you know, I was really excelling with it. I went ended up, went to music, school, music, college and I’m here today and I’ve survived. And that’s kind of how music and the violin has really transformed my life, you know, physically and mentally because it took me out of my current circumstances. I ended up going to a nice school and meeting lovely people. And also it was that sort of creative mindfulness practice that I was channeling my anxiety into something good, something positive.
[00:09:54] So that’s awesome. So do you think is there anything maybe in particular unique about the violin and that that really helps and helped helped you in particular to really help you to turn your life around, you know, versus even maybe other musical instruments? Or is it just that that happened to be be the instrument that spoke to you?
[00:10:17] What do you think? I mean, I think any instrument really has the power to give you that creative mindfulness practice, for sure. For me, the opportunity was the violin, and I know that a lot of people and I think it was Ed Miliband, the politician, British politician he had said that he’d been interviewed and he was asked, You know, what do you do to excuse Prime Minister for, well, what do you do to relieve stress? And he said, Well, I took piano lessons and now he’s actually quite an accomplished pianist. So I think the piano, for example, is quite widely reported and the piano is, of course, a wonderful instrument and all credit to pianists out there. But for the violin, like I think instruments like the violin, certainly orchestral instruments are instruments where you can really get social with them. So say somebody you know, during the lockdown, for example, and people have been stuck at home. And you know, it’s been a really isolating time for many. And those were coming out of lockdown. We’re starting to see things open again and think. And what I like about instruments like the violin and orchestral instruments is that you can really go out there and play music with other people. You know, there’s certain instruments that are more solitary. And what instruments are orchestral, like the violin? You’ve got that social aspect, like maybe you can go to an amateur orchestra and meet
[00:11:42] People there and
[00:11:43] You know, it can help combat loneliness and things.
[00:11:46] So yeah. Absolutely. And it’s certainly more portable than a piano. You know, you can certainly carry it around with you and you could, you know, you could go to a park and start playing or you can’t really do that with a piano. That’s so cool. So what? What prompted you to actually start your business because you set you mentioned and I said, actually, for those of you who I think I neglected to mention this at the outset. So for those of you who are listening and wondering about Hazel’s accent, you are actually in Scotland, right? Yeah, yeah, that’s where you grew up. So I do. Well, I love the accent. So why did you start your business? What actually prompted you to do that instead of just teaching the way you were doing before?
[00:12:40] Yeah. So obviously, I started the business because I thought first and foremost, I’m a violin teacher is what I’ve always done, and it’s what I’m good at. But it was while straightening my book that I discovered through, you know, writing down my own story, I discovered that I could use my own story to help other people. So there obviously is this other element. You know, it’s not just a case of I’ll teach you the violin. Certainly, I will teach people the violin without digging into their mental health. And and also, I just want to see that I’m not a mental health professional. I’m not a doctor or anything like that. This is just completely my unique experience or sadly not so unique for, you
[00:13:22] Know, mental health is very prevalent
[00:13:24] At the moment,
[00:13:25] But yeah, I just kind of felt like I had a little bit more to offer, you know, and then I just felt that anyone that is maybe going through a tough time with things. It will mood, depression, stress, you know, even if people are just wanting to inject more joy into their daily lives. And I just felt like, you know what, I’ve got a story that I can share and hopefully it will help other people. So yeah, that’s why I that’s why I started my business.
[00:13:52] I’m so glad to hear that that you’re doing that because I think you know, what I love is that everybody has different life experiences and and they and they can use those to help other people. And and so you come at it from this musical background, which I think is really, really awesome because I I grew up playing instruments and I knew the the benefit of it. And and I also know that in schools, they don’t necessarily emphasize it enough and I wish they would. In fact, I think you talk about that or I think maybe mention that a little bit in the book. Why do you think it is so important that we need music in schools?
[00:14:37] I just think that it’s such a shame. You know, there’s been so many. I don’t know what it’s like where you are, Gloria, but there’s been so many cuts to the arts and certainly here in Scotland and in the U.K. and I think, you know, just just as I said in my book, I I don’t know what I would have done without music and the violin because the way I was introduced to it and the way you know, it basically opened up everything else. Like, suddenly, you know, I was doing better in school because I had this other focus, whereas before I was really struggling, you know, I think music
[00:15:11] Helps, you know,
[00:15:13] It’s well documented. It’s well reported that music is good for your brain. It’s good for so many different things. And I really think that it’s such a shame that there have been so many cuts to the arts
[00:15:25] Because music
[00:15:26] Is the learning and instrument is just so beneficial in so many ways.
[00:15:31] Yeah, absolutely. And you know, it just occurred to me. I think what? Maybe people don’t talk about enough, but but especially being in like an orchestra, you know, you mentioned that the violin is as an orchestral instrument. And I I was in band in school. And I think what’s really good about that is it gives a kids a way of being able to learn how to work together. You know, you really can’t, necessarily unless there are particular solo parts in a piece, but mostly you have to learn how to blend and to harmonize. And and, you know, doing that with a musical instrument, I think is a good way to be able to teach kids that, you know, besides all the other skills you’re learning, you’re learning how to count. I mean, it helps with, you know, just simple, you know, keeping time and understanding time signatures and dividing things up into, you know, fractions. I mean, it’s it’s amazing music can teach you. But yeah, but I think social skills, too.
[00:16:34] That’s why I was just about to say, like, also, you kind of got you kind of I know that I certainly found this just camaraderie
[00:16:41] You know, you know, certainly well, all of my friends now are musicians. I don’t really know anyone that isn’t a musician. I met all of my closest friends through music. I even met my husband through music. And you know, there’s just this shared camaraderie. Certainly when I first went to music school and after having been at primary school, so I went to a music high school and there was just a small group of us within like a regular school. And I just remember it so that the building was actually separate to the main school building. And just from my very first visit again as a really anxious kid going into new school, I was, I mean, initially I just wanted to go to high school with all my friends and just kind of do the normal. So going to like a specialist school, I was like, Oh, I don’t know how I’m going to do with
[00:17:28] It, but you know, from
[00:17:30] That first visit, I came into the music block and I could hear music around me. Everyone was so friendly and certainly the six years that I spent there and formed some of the closest bonds, you know, with these with these kids, because we’d be formed like a family, we all had different lifes, different backgrounds, but we all shared this one thing in common and that was music. So yeah, it’s it’s amazing for so many things, but camaraderie and friendship? Definitely.
[00:17:57] Absolutely. Now I know that, you know, you suffered from anxiety as a kid, but there’s also. Can you talk a little bit about maybe professional musicians? Do they have? Are they at risk sometimes for being suffering from anxiety?
[00:18:17] I think so. I mean, I think it’s certainly from my own experience. I mean, it’s not as though you learn an instrument and it’s like waving a magic wand and all of a sudden your mental health problems will disappear. I mean, certainly there is an element of pressure that. Hemsworth making music, you’re your livelihood. So for me, for example, you know, as a youngster, the violin really took
[00:18:41] Me out of what I was
[00:18:43] Experiencing, but certainly when it started to become more serious, you know, and it became like making a living and stuff. That’s a whole other kettle of fish. And you know, again, there’s a lot of cuts to the arts over here. And certainly the pandemic has been really disastrous for four musicians everywhere. But that kind of sort, the point in my in what I do isn’t so my students aren’t necessarily I mean, they may want to become professional musicians further down the line. But first and foremost, it’s people who are looking to inject a little bit more creativity, a little bit more joy into their lives and really were not exploiting the stressful side of it,
[00:19:26] Which is, you know,
[00:19:28] Having to make a living and being your bread and butter. So the message that I want to share is really not going down that route is actually looking at how music can really help calm you down because it’s a stressful side to everything, you know? Certainly. Yeah, there are that are mental health problems in orchestras and things just because of the nature of it. But yeah,
[00:19:51] Awesome. So how do you help people specifically in your business? So how does how does that? So if I came and said, OK, I need help, Hazel. What are you? What would that? What would a session with you like?
[00:20:06] So as I said before, I will teach anyone I teach children all the way through to adults and their ages, but I have a special interest. Strictly if a female was struggling, for example, I’m more interested and most interested in helping females who are perhaps a bit struggling with their mental health a bit and want to live a happier and more fulfilling life. I want to help them. I want to introduce them to music and the violin, the kind of calming properties of that. And my core message is really that learning the violin really does have the power to transform your life, both physically and mentally. So we would start off a session. Not obviously, if you’re wanting to find a way to relax, you obviously still have to learn the instrument. So we would start with the basics.
[00:20:55] Well, that’s cool. That’s awesome. So do you think since you’ve also done writing and just from just from reading a short, I haven’t had a chance to finish the whole thing, but just even the beginning that that I started getting into, I I can see that you do have a good you have a wonderful voice that that I’m really proud of you for, for putting yourself out there and being able to share your story. So and you do it in a very natural way. That’s very conversational. So I love that. Do you think you’ll ever write another story down the line or are you just going to stick with music for now?
[00:21:37] Well, funnily enough, I am writing. Writing my book took quite a lot out of me. I thought, You know, this will be a great project. I’ll just do this. And you know, who knows what’ll happen. But actually, Gloria writing all that stuff down afterwards, it was as though I’d buried like so many memories and it was honestly writing it down was so cathartic. But at the same time, it was terrifying and it was really terrifying out there. And afterwards, the the aftermath, it was a little bit like opening Pandora’s box and what that happened now that remember this? And so, yeah, I’m taking a little break from writing, but I do have a few ideas. I am kind of feeling the itch again, so I’ve got a few ideas for potential topics further down the line. But for now, I’m focusing on just spreading my message. And, yeah, just that side of things.
[00:22:35] Awesome. Well, I’m glad to hear that. Well, if someone is listening to this today and saying this is intriguing, I’ve never thought about taking up the violin, but I might want to check it out. What is the best way for someone to reach out to you? Where can they find you?
[00:22:52] So you can either email me directly at mail at Hazel’s Violin School, and that’s probably quite a lot to remember. The best we really would be to go into my website w-w-what Hazel’s violin school, and there’s a contact form on there. And basically it’s just taking you straight to that direct email address and you can reach me there quite easily. I would be. I would love to hear from you.
[00:23:21] Well, wonderful. And the book Can they get Is that available on Amazon?
[00:23:25] Yes. And actually for for your guests, I am offering a free digital copy of my book, so please do reach out to me on the contact form on my website, and I will be more than happy to send you a copy. And if you do want to buy a copy, you can find it on my website. There’s a heading that says my book.
[00:23:43] Ok, very good. All right.
[00:23:46] I made it very easy to navigate.
[00:23:47] I like that. Yeah. Simple. And to the point. Perfect? Yeah, don’t you? Yeah. Some people get really creative about things, but I’m just take that apart. Absolutely. Well, cool. Well, I will make sure that I have all that information in the show notes as well. So so you can just go to if you go to Live Love Engage podcast, you’ll be able to see this episode, or you can even go to my YouTube channel as well. And it will be there and I really have enjoyed our chat to Hazel. I’m so delighted that we’ve connected and I am really intrigued. You know, like I said, the violin always intimidated me. It just seemed like it would be a really hard instrument to learn. But but I think if I had the right teacher like you, then I maybe I could actually master it. So maybe one day I’ll take it.
[00:24:41] Actually, yeah, please do. Yes, you know, you know where I am if you do want, if you would like some lessons.
[00:24:47] All right, awesome. I will definitely do that. So thank you again for being with us today. I really appreciate it.
[00:24:52] Thank you for having me.
[00:24:54] Oh, thank you and thank you everyone who is listening and are watching and you’re watching on YouTube. I appreciate you and I look forward to seeing you next time around. So until then, as always, I encourage you to go out and live fully. Love deeply and engage authentically.
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