Hello! Thank you for coming here and reading this!
I am Simon.
I find (or create) powerful ideas, make them happen, then use stories to tell people about them.
My day job is to make noises by scraping on a wooden box.
Sometimes people ask me to go and scrape boxes in front of lots of people in a big room.
I also show other people how to make noises by scraping on wooden boxes.
This site is full of music and words that I made (or helped to make), plus a few other bits and pieces that I think are important, or at least relevant.
I’d like the music and words and images and videos to speak for themselves, but for a bit of context, here’s my story so far ...
I come from (and am still based in) London (England), third generation of working musicians (I once counted how many are blood relations and it’s somewhere between 20 and 30!!).
I was pushed along the conveyor belt of 20th century education systems, through which I acquired all the right skills to do all the wrong things.
I rebelled in a creatively liberating but financially calamitous way, and somehow developed - by painful trial and error - my own set of frameworks for approaching our increasingly unpredictable world!
That unexpectedly took about a decade, during which time I variously studied at, won research positions at, got rejected from, got funded by, got un-funded by, worked for, re-studied at, aborted studies at, etc etc. various historic renowned prestigious institutions (Private this, Royal that, International blah!).
I also did freelance / contract work in these years, for quite a few music companies / orchestras / broadcasters / organisations / record labels / etc. Mainly as a violinist (that’s my trade!).
Plus some epic tours and concerts backing big name artists at the top of their game ... (I only realise in hindsight just how much I learned from those experiences ... )
All of these places were deeply dysfunctional ... yet populated by some of the nicest / cleverest / most visionary people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet, and most of whom to this day I consider trusted colleagues / mentors / friends.
Everything I do stands on the shoulders (or perhaps brains?) of these wonderful, incredible people.
These same places were also inhabited by some of the most warped, embittered, misguided, incompetent and unhappy people ... who really shouldn’t have been in such influential positions of authority. (I was one of the lucky ones, and escaped lightly. I know many who didn’t.)
During this time I experimented with a wide range of idealistic music projects, powered by endless enthusiasm and a blithe ignorance of sound financial management. This extended to projects involving people (politicians, musicians, actors) you’ve almost certainly heard of, some of whom doubled as private clients (events, festivals, tuition for the kids, ‘private engagements’ in Switzerland, etc).
Inadvertently and ignorantly, I followed an entrepreneurial path of creating small organisations (today they would probably be called ‘social enterprises’), to solve problems that we had the enthusiasm, but neither the resources nor the experience, to resolve.
Major successes and failures included a record label, a technology project, a live music business, a concert series, a series of radio shows, and more. Two were hits, most just about sort of worked (and even won some big awards - BBC, Shell, Deutsche Bank), and one was a complete and utter disaster which I regret to this day!
I have also spent significant amounts of time working with communities - particularly in Palestine and throughout the UK - where people, through no fault of their own, live in unbelievably difficult circumstances.
(These communities do not need charity, pity, or condescending intervention. Instead, they need a fair, just world that allows them to unleash their creative potential - as does every human being. Making that happen is one of the things that motivates me to get up and work every day.)
This all barrelled along at full speed until about 2012, by which point I'd sort of accidentally started a school. That, alongside two children (one severely autistic), ate up most of my thirties.
As I began to gravitate gracelessly toward middle age, I discovered that my extraordinarily inspirational Aunt Caroline had spent the last 3 decades fighting the same battles I’ve been fighting since 2010 - that is, to provide (through music) a paradigm of education that’s fundamentally:
As Caroline's publishing business - started with my Granny in the 1980s! - began to integrate with my school, we launched a big specialist violin learning centre in London (Pimlico), and by January 2020, after 8 solid years of ridiculously long workdays, things were humming.
Errr... Let's gently skip over the next 3 years. 😮
Anyway, it's 2023 now and the music is BACK.
But the world has changed, and will continue to change - faster and faster. Global issues such as climate change and AI are having transformational impact on our society and species.
If we are to retain the best of what it means to be human, I believe that music and the arts and other fundamentally human pursuits need to remain at the heart of how our society now evolves.
Through my work, I'll do the best I can to contribute in a small way to these big issues, and try to ask some good questions along the way.
There's more to say, but SO much more to come.
For now, thank you for reading, and please go and listen to some nice sounds!
-SHJ March 2023
Simon Hewitt Jones c/o 1st Floor Studios, 41 Whitcomb Street, London, WC2H 7DT, United Kingdom
T: +44 (0)20 3051 0080, E: firstname.lastname@example.org