I hadn't heard of community music groups until just over a year ago. At the time I hadn't picked up my flute for years and it was actually in the attic until the day I went to my first session. From the very first rehearsal I loved it.
I joined Harmonie, a concert band. I hadn't heard of concert bands, but they are primarily woodwind, brass and percussion. We play a wide mix of music, including film scores, classic pieces and more. It is so much fun. My playing has improved so much - I was only grade three when I started. I struggled with the level of music (they recommend you are a minimum of grade five), but it really spurred me on and incentivised me. Now just over a year later I have taken my grade five and am studying music theory, so I can take my grade six.
Playing in a group has improved my technique, because I can hear how other flutes sound - which I haven't done since I was at primary school. I frequently have to sight read pieces at band, which has improved my understanding of music greatly.
I practice regularly - an hour or so a day, because I don't want to let my band mates down. Music has gone from being something I consume to something I create. It gives me so much pleasure and I have even started to teach myself to play the ukulele. I am saving up to buy a piano as I want to learn to play that too.
I love my work (I'm an arts consultant), but actually being able to create music is wonderful. I've made new friends and a whole new world of music has opened up to me.
If you play an instrument or sing, even if you haven't played for years, I highly recommend you find your local community group - there is a wide mixture of ability levels available.
Check out Making Music at makingmusic.org.uk/