This year has been one of the most incredibly life altering ones in my 32 years on this Earth. Some of it has been fabulous, some very painful. A few of you know but most don’t: my marriage sadly ended during the year and dealing with that has been difficult. It’s been a bittersweet year that has taught me so much about myself, my tribe, our community, life and the power of music.
I’m writing from sunny Perth, which is where I was born and grew up. I’ve been reflecting on this year’s achievements and events and this reflection has reinforced the reasons why I created this school.
My intention has always been to create a space where people feel comfortable to be themselves, to express themselves in whatever form that may take, and to support it happening within a community that values each and every member.
In 2013, when I first embarked on this dream, it was just me and a piano, a living room full of kids & their parents and 6 days a week of non-stop teaching: creating, planning, dreaming, delivering.
Seventy-two - 72! - little musicians kept me on my toes! I loved every minute of it but couldn’t sustain the juggling of my paid job and my dream job. So I quit my steady day job to focus on my dream.
Cue our first humble premises in Eltham. It’s where I could see it all coming to life before my very eyes. I hired two amazing teachers to join me and before I knew it, we couldn’t keep up with demand.
In May this year, I founded our Hawthorn studio. The space, the location and the feel of it were all perfect. And while I was actually quite terrified at the thought of taking on a bigger space, I knew that if I truly wanted to make music accessible to as many people as possible in a modern way, then I had to jump in feet first and go for it.
In July we launched the Hawthorn studio and had a Grand Opening. I still get excited saying that. Grand Opening.
This was amidst some of the most personally challenging and sad times of my life. The 6 months that followed the Grand Opening were some of the most confronting, terrifying, exhausting times but also the most rewarding - both personally and professionally.
When I was so tired that I didn’t think I could keep it all going, my students, mums, dads and grandparents along with my teaching tribe, my beautiful friends, and family came through and taught me a little something about letting people help and support me too.
We had live events and concerts, performances, open days, music camps…and the support I got to make it all happen has been beyond incredible. It gave me the strength to dig a little deeper and keep it all going. Thankfully, my amazing teaching tribe are even more awesome than I already knew. They are amongst the best teachers I’ve ever come across and they’re also really awesome people to have around.
And then it hits me - my dream is a reality. This incredible music community I dreamt of actually exists! Right here. Because of you.
Sometimes I need to pinch myself to believe it’s true.
So what happens next, and how do our students benefit?
Well, 2018 is a year full of possibility: out-of-the-box ideas coming to life, opportunity, more community involvement, epic concerts, regular live music entertainment and performance options, stretching ourselves as teachers, mentors, students, musicians, artists, performers. Giving, sharing, nurturing. Infusing our students with a sense of confidence, self-worth and unity.
We’re going to shake things up musically. The musical experience will be modern, unique and not played by the historic rules. We’re going to collaborate, and push ourselves musically as teachers, artists, and mentors.
I’ve never believed that tradition is the best way to teach music. There’s an entire world of music out there and we’re not ignoring any of it. Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th century, 21st century, Pop, Jazz…. Things need to be shaken up so let’s do it! Gone are the days of whining about going to music lessons.
Our mission in 2018 is to create confident musicians, keen to explore their boundaries and push themselves beyond what they believe to be their natural boundaries. I want to cause far reaching, dramatic change to music education.
I’m so thrilled to be able to help nurture the musicians of the future. Let’s create some more musical magic in 2018!
Thank you once again for your support this year. You’ve been amazing. If you’d like to support your music school even further, it would mean so much to me if you were to follow our Facebook page - most of our news will be posted there first.
I wish you, your family and your friends a fantastic New Year and I can’t wait to work with you all again in 2018.