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  • Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2016 11:06
  • Hits: 1020
  • 27 Jan

I've been slow on the blog updates here, but in 2015 I aim to rectify that.  Over the coming months I'll be adding regular entries here, discussing a range of topics that arise in different areas of my life as a musician and teacher.

My teaching life resumes next week after the summer break.  As any sessional music teacher will understand (except perhaps guitar teachers!), this is the time of trepidation, not knowing whether or not you will have enough students to pay the mortgage and the bills.  I've been fortunate enough to have worked in a number of excellent music departments over the years, but that doesn't necessarily lead to wage security.  We rely on many different factors in order to build a good student list that can be sustained.

Firstly, our own skill as a teacher, which helps in getting current students to continue.  Poor teaching loses students quicker than anything else.

We are also reliant on the strength of the department as a whole.  Having an enthusiastic and energised Head is vital, but having a whole team of quality instrumental staff is important too, especially where those staff are also directing the school's ensembles.  Having an ensemble program that ties in with individual music lessons is one of the best ways to build consistent success in a music department.  All of the best programs that I have worked in have done this incredibly well.  They built a culture of excellence that was shared by all the staff and students.  That is not to say that these departments produced the highest level of musicians, or the competition winning bands.  Rather, these departments found ways to engage the most students, and they engaged them for more than just year 7.  Band numbers were healthy at all levels, and there were good student numbers on a really wide range of instruments.  I've seen it in many schools where there have been dozens and dozens of guitarists, but no bassists.  Or 30 violins and one cello.

That in itself is a major problem, and I think that the societal expectation of what schools should offer has forced many music departments to "cave" to the whimsy of both student and parents.  So if this is the new reality, school music programs must find a way of making a diverse program work.  In my experience, programs dominated by one or two instruments simply don't survive.

I don't have the perfect solution to this problem, but it is worth considering the broader implications of unbalanced music programs.

And young guitarists who might be thinking about it, you should seriously look at bass.  Get good and you'll always have a gig!

Upcoming Gigs
March 22 - Alastair Kerr Quartet at the Paris Cat
Trio Agogo at the Brunswick Green
Apr 20 & 21 - Afro Sambas with Alda Rezende

Upcoming Gigs

Please click through the tabs for information on our upcoming gigs.

March 22 - Alastair Kerr Quartet at the Paris Cat

Thursday March 22, 8:30pm

Alastair Kerr Quartet at the Paris Cat Jazz Club

featuring Paul Williamson (trumpet)

After spending the last few years deep in the world of Afro-Brazilian ceremonial drumming, drummer/composer Alastair Kerr launches a new edition of his jazz quartet. With former colleagues Marc Hannaford and Sam Zerna firmly entrenched in NYC, Al has put together a new band including brilliant trumpeter Paul Williamson, and the exciting young talents of Daniel Mougerman (piano), and Jordan Tarento (bass). With a focus on Kerr's compositions, this group blends strong melodies with hints of Cuban and Brazilian rhythms into a highly rhythmic group sound.  Bookings here.

 

Trio Agogo at the Brunswick Green

Second Sunday of each month

Trio Agogo at the Brunswick Green

In the garden, 4-6pm

Trio Agogo and friends are back at the Brunswick Green for a summer of great music in the garden.  Choro on the second Sunday of each month.  313 Sydney Rd, Brunswick.

6 sharpened med

 

 

 

Apr 20 & 21 - Afro Sambas with Alda Rezende

Panorama Brasil presents:

The Afro Sambas

Featuring Alda Rezende

Following sold-out performances with Panorama Brasil in 2017, Alda Rezende returns to Australia in 2018 to perform Baden Powell & Vinicius de Moraes' Afro Sambas with Panorama Brasil at the Paris Cat. From the Brazilian state of Belo Horizonte, Alda is one of the most distinctive and captivating voices to emerge from Brazil in recent years.

 

A virtuosic guitarist and genius composer, Baden Powell combined classical techniques with popular harmony and swing, performing in many different styles, including bossa nova, samba, Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz and música popular brasileira. His album Os Afro-sambas is a masterpiece of post-Bossa Nova Brazil. Written with poet/lyricist Vinícius de Moraes, these compositions represent the breadth and beauty of Afro-Brazilian music — music central to the Brazilian identity.Melbourne-based ensemble Panorama Brasil draws on the diverse musical landscape of Brazil: music with influences from the arid interior, the Amazonian basin, and the streets of Rio and Salvador. Lead by drummer/composer Alastair Kerr (a long-time student of Brazilian music, and one of Australia’s leading exponents of Brazilian percussion) Panorama Brasil explores the Afro roots that inspired Powell, bringing Afro-Brazilian drumming to the centre of this suite.

 

Tickets April 20

Tickets April 21

Alda 04