Monthly Archives: September 2015


When people say your talented,say thank you,

     But don’t take yourself too seriously,there’s so many talented people in the world.

When people say your old fashioned,maybe respectfully listen,

Yes,they might be right,but they could be wrong.

When people say that kids have an easy life,

Thank them for their interest,but remember that children have their own unique problems to cope with.

When people say that there are “too many foreigners” remind them who does all those jobs that they won’t do.

So when people give their opinions,remember that they are like noses,we all have them.

Your opinion is of the same merit as anyone else.


“Anyone for a bit of Samuel Barber.?

As I listened to this Truly inspirational piece from Samuel Barber I thought,”How many people have heard this before in concert halls around the world”?As someone from Britain with a Lve for our composers,I get a tingle down my spine when I catch the stuff that these great American composers gave to our world.If I were to quantify it ,it would be hard to stack it up against the Germanic school but truly,this music that I played the kids today did touch them,the way American literature does too.

If we want to be critical,or offer a sound musical polemic then we could find things in Barber that are overly sentimental and that grate,but,at the same time,we could do that with Elgar,Holst’s or Vaughan Williams.So,I wanted to introduce some serious American music today,and I opted for Barber.Tomrrow,I will play some Copland,and Thursday some Ives,settling for Cage on Friday.If the children get some exposure to the serious music that spawned some of the film music that their parents have heard and loved,then maybe I might unlock something.

My indulgent piece today is just to show what I like to do.Music unites cultures,and I think nations more than most things do.When there’s hear the music from the other side of the world it is an important thing.

So now,I’m going to prepare for a pupil who is working on the Beethoven “Pathetic” sonata.sch a wonderful piece of music with a real emotional connection.

Water on Mars!

Maybe David Bowie’s Life on Mars song from the seventies will have a whole new lease of life,as scientists get very animated about water being found on the famous planet.As a total scientific layman,I am apt to adopt am”wait and see attitude”,but Bowie touched a need in all f us then to continue to push the frontiers of space.

I was a teenager when Bowie penned that song in his Ziggy Stardust world that would suck us all in to make contact with our Alter egos.

Some songs have that affect on us.Bowie has that genius of singing in such a way that you live each phrase again,and again.Bowie also has an amazing range that we sometimes don’t give him credit for.That song still sounds fresh to me,even though it’s over forty years since it was written.This,to me,is a testimony to the genius of the writing.

Sometimes,I think that people like Bowie,Winwood,Wonder,aback son,Van Morrison,et al,could have equally excelled in other musical genres too,I really do.

I don’t know what I think about the prospect of there being Life on Mars,but what I do know is that song has a gigantic place in my musical consciousness.Thanks Bowie.

“The start of a new week”.

Running late,which I hate,

    Haven’t mended the hinges of the gate.

            Must get petrol ,and check the oil,

                  Breakfast rushed and no Coffee before toil.

                         Samuel Barber is in my head now,but much better than Suzanne Boyle,

                                     Running late ,pupils to greet,to teach,to inspire,to,to,to,…..

                                              “Oh,how I hate the start of the week”.


“The Compliment”.

From a rowdy cheer,to a warm embrace,

   From the warm word of encouragement,to the card that says your great.

         Compliments when sincerely given and warmly accepted,

              Oil the cynicism of our sometimes dark world.

       So many work tirelessly at the job year in year old without much remuneration,

        When we show our appreciation for their service,their going the extra mile for their clear communication,then we might just lighten their load by our genuine compliment.

People matter,we all matter,so don’t forget your own species as we all grow together.


Sunday muse.

Lazy thoughts of times past whisper in the synapse that is my faulty brain,

       These patterns rooted in childhood lessons,some dark,some light.

Mental pictures of my ambitions and searches,confused by self study and undue influence,

I am bombarded by these concepts,a captive of their delusion,

Now I am free of the chains of Theological Polemics and dictums.

So Sunday is a time to exist in my own humanity,to preserve my own sanity.

“Sonic Pulses from today.”

Late at night when background noise is gone,

    Sounds exist in my mind and linger on,

          Mozart String quartets from this afternoon,

                Levi’s Costello,Ian Drury,Human league,Stevie Ray Vaughan,

                        These are the guys that float my sonic pulses and spawn my sound babies,

                                 So ,I don’t stop listening when darkness falls,cos the sounds are still there underneath my Hair.


Discarded toy,empty Jam Jar,

    Torn comic book with superhero hook.

         Childhood days of fun and flavour,

               Hospital friends lost forever.

       Life is precious,and each memory fuses its pieces together,

        Like a favourite movie,or soundtrack,you need to re-play again and again.
          Was it really so stressful when operations were touch and go,

              When last hugs and kisses were meant and accompanied by tears.

               Now,when childhood is gone,the things left over are precious,

                 Long lost pets who assisted us through the storms and the tempests.

                    Teddy bears bare of fur through suffocating embraces,

                     All these memories sparked off from a clear out of stuff.
                            Funny though,you can’t ever eradicate the pain in your soul for the departed,or I can’t.

“Ode to the egg chaser”.

From Kick off to Scrum,to falling on my bum,

     From line out to twenty two,from fly half to wing.
             From Ugly high tackle to sin bin,

                    From try to conversion.
                   As Substitutes try to get up to speed,

                          Forwards try to run the show.
                                 Will we ever replace Wilkinson or flood,

                                        Can someone step up like a Vickery?
                                          As the Rugby Gods look down in us we hope and play.

“If Music be the food of love in your school,then PAY UP”

When money is the main driver for music tuition,I’m afraid that a red mist descends on me.Today,my boss told me that at the academy where I work,they were going to increase the fees by 25% to the parents for lessons in music.

Don’t get me wrong,I know that things cost,and a school has to balance the books,but increasing the fees by that amount will ,for many parents ,make lessons untenable.As there isn’t a provision for helping those on a low income,I thought that I would suggest that I took a cut in my hourly fee to try to compensate for this.However,I was told that this wouldn’t be possible as other younger teachers wouldn’t be-able to agree to this.

My feelings on musical education is that each child who is interested should have a chance of learning.As I have often written,without the good will of so many people when I was a child,I would never have been able to make it in music.

Normally,I go off to the Pub and moan,but sometimes I feel that it’s important to communicate.If this is turning into a rant,then I am very sorry.Yes,my socialist principles are probably out of place where I am now,as many simply want to pick up a pay check and survive in the teacher profession.While it’s true that I am now 58 years of age,and my best years might be over as a teacher.However,if we forget that teaching was always viewed as a vocation,then where will we be in the future.

As a child from a family of 9 with no father,and as I often say,I was so very lucky to have devoted teachers who gave of themselves to help me .Yes,I did practice about 5 hours per day,but they also gave so much to nurture what talent I had.

As schools concentrate more on resources being ploughed the STEM subjects,I fear that humanities and arts will become Cinderella with no slippers and that would be sad.

Academies were sold by Michael Gove as the solution to every educational problem,and now as they balance their books in their educational enterprise zone,I fear greatly for my subject,and I hope for changes in the future.