I thought my family wasn’t musical until my youngest daughter started playing guitar – really well, writes Richard Corfield

Genetics is a tricky business. I am as musical as a man with two left hands can be and my various attempts to emulate Mark Knopfler are, to put it mildly, dispiriting at best. Music is not strong on my wife’s side of the family either, so it came as something of a surprise a couple of years ago when our youngest daughter, Susie, picked up a guitar and within a month was picking out complex tunes on it, and within six months was composing her own material and singing it in front of her school – Bartholomew’s in Eynsham.

Her fascination and skill with music has opened up new dimensions in our family as we listen out for her latest compositions and hum along to them outside her bedroom door. When she picked up a Shania Twain song by ear the other day I knew that we were in the presence of one of those things that you read about but do not often encounter in life – raw talent.

Susie is fascinated by country music, which is why we are heading for the capital of country music itself, Nashville, next month. We shall be keeping a diary of the trip, and so here is Susie’s first entry.

Susie Corfield

To me Nashville holds many thoughts and emotions in my mind. It is a place of hope and opportunity for many budding musicians. However, it is most certainly a daunting place. Commonly known as the “Mecca of country music,” the city is packed with musicians hoping to make it in the country world. I wouldn’t class myself one of those people just yet. I am perfectly content to observe country music at its best.

I was born and raised in Oxfordshire, where country music isn’t considered “popular” or “cool”, but I still love it, and I wouldn't be me without it. I stumbled on country music about two years ago via the music of Taylor Swift. Although I had listened to many songs from the likes of Johnny Cash, Brooks & Dunn and Confederate Railroad in Dad’s car on family holidays across Europe, 2012 was the first time I felt I connected with this simple, everyday person’s, music.

Taylor Swift really brought country music to my heart and as I started listening to other country singers I also started playing the guitar in the summer of 2012. I had previously played the cello and had attempted the piano.

However, the guitar was the instrument that clicked with me. After a few months of playing, I started writing my own songs and experimenting with the sounds of country and folk music. I have also started practising with the banjo, mandolin and 12-string guitar, all widely used in country music.

A few months ago, the opportunity arose to go to Nashville and I seized it as fast as I could. After all, how many 13-year-olds – who are about to start their GCSEs – get the opportunity to go to Nashville? I am now extremely excited about my journey. I’m looking forward to soaking in all of the Southern charm available in the country world. I will visit every place possible in Nashville, including the likes of The Grand ole’ Opry, The Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Bluebird Café. This opportunity is great and I intend to use it to my advantage. I also intend to use it to raise awareness of country music – a style originally for everyone and anyone – in my home county of Oxfordshire.

Richard Corfield is a scientist, science writer and broadcaster and the author of books on astronomy, history and geology among other subjects.