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  • Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2016 11:06
  • Hits: 819
  • 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
Dec 15 - Panorama Brasil at the Paris Cat
Oct 26 - Danilo Rojas at the Paris Cat
Trio Agogo at the Brunswick Green

Upcoming Gigs

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

Dec 15 - Panorama Brasil at the Paris Cat

Friday Dec 15, 7pm

Panorama Brasil at the Paris Cat Jazz Club

featuring Dany Maia and Sam Keevers

Panorama Brasil return to the Paris Cat with special guest singer Dany Maia, and legendary pianist Sam Keevers.  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

Oct 26 - Danilo Rojas at the Paris Cat

Thursday Oct 26, 8:30pm

Cueca - Danilo Rojas (Bolivia/Aus), at the Paris Cat

From Cueca to Jazz Improvisation

Bolivian pianist brings his quintet to the Paris Cat for a night of Bolivian jazz.  Incredible music inspired by the rhythms of Bolivia, played by a great band.  With Rob Vincs (sax), Memo Beltzer (bass), Sal Persico (percussion), Al Kerr (drums) and Danilo Rojas (piano).  Doors open 8pm.  Bookings recommended.  For a little taste, check out  this video.




Trio Agogo at the Brunswick Green

Trio Agogo at the Brunswick Green

Second Sunday of each month 4-6pm in the garden

Trio Agogo, the great galvanisers of the Melbourne choro scene return for the summer season of music at the Brunswick Green.  With a steady stream of special guests and choro hits.  303 Sydney Rd, Brunswick.