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  • Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2016 11:06
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  • 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
Feb 16 - Dany Maia at the Paris Cat
Trio Agogo at the Brunswick Green
Jan 31 - Brazil's Modern Poets

Upcoming Gigs

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

Feb 16 - Dany Maia at the Paris Cat

Friday Feb 16, 7pm

Dany Maia at the Paris Cat Jazz Club

 

Dany Maia returns to the Paris Cat in 2018 with her great blend of samba, bossa nova, MPB and more.  Dany is from Salvador da Bahia - the centre of Afro-Brazilian music and culture - and she'll be singing some incredible songs from her homeland.  Music from Baden Powell, Cartola, Jobim and more.  Doors open 6:30pm  Bookings strongly recommended.

Dany Maia 1

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

 

 

 

Jan 31 - Brazil's Modern Poets

Panorama Brasil and the Melbourne Recital Centre present:

Brazil's Modern Poets

Featuring Diana Clark, Jacqueline Gawler, and Doug de Vries

In this brand new presentation, Panorama Brasil turns their focus to the great lyricists of Brazil...

From the earliest days of samba, Brazil has produced lyricists capable of social insight, cutting wit and subtle beauty. From the protest songs of the dictatorship eras, to the intimacy of bossa nova, Panorama Brasil presents incredible songs from some of Brazil’s greatest modern poets, including Chico Buarque, Fernando Brant, Vinicius de Moraes and Edu Lobo.

Tickets through the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Jacqueline Gawler