Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Joy of music!

Music can fill your heavy heart with goodness and capture the essence of a moment,

Without words or phrases it enhances our spirit and rejuvenates our life to move again.

When the hides tides of depression seep into the membranes of our consciousness,

Then music soothes us,gives us a way out,acts as an arbitrator to sensitive souls.

If we can’t create ourselves,we need an outlet to the internal turmoil that we all feel,

We are all organic in ur emotions-they are never truly that settled-and music saves the day for our humanity,and maybe all humanity if they are willing to enter into its open prism of sonic affects.

So let’s give music a go,really listen for just 5 minutes,and you might be surprised by the way it makes you feel,

As our great bard said in the opening lines of Twelfth night,”if music be the food of love,then play on”.


It only takes a minute!

It only takes a minute to commend a fellow human on a job well done,

Maybe they have served you well at a restaurant,greeted you with joy on holiday.

Sometimes,all we need is a show of appreciation,the knowledge that we are not taken for granted,

When someone says somethng nice to me,I’m walking on air,so why not reciprocate in kind.

People are not machines,they have feelings,anxieties,stresses,just like you and me,

Never allow our own preoccupations to blot out our own humanity,stealing love when it is so needed.

It only takes a minute to show he act of kindness,and do yu know,that minute might last for days to the recipient.
Thank you.Kernowsmith.

Teenage growing pains produce wonderful results.!

From the excitement of the last day of term,to the dawn of the new day,I am drawn by the seemingly never ending patterns of life that exist.

As this new day ushers in prospects,activities,musings and the like it is,nontheless,linked to yesterday because our minds are apt to be retrospective in their very pulse.That,to me,is a comfort in oh so many ways,for if we were to forget the treasure s of our own personal history,then how can we observe the history in others,their highlights,their pluses,their passages of intent.

Children have a wonderful fascination for the moment,for living in that moment,and not tearing that moment might not be repeated again,their confidence in the moment not being an isolated event is oh so interesting.Of course,children grow up invariably,but their growing into adults isn’t as easy for them as we might expect.What was interestingly called growing pains is a reality to oh so many.As those formative minds reach the teenage years,they sometimes go through a gambit of emotions that are,on the one hand,bizarrely exciting,and on the other,infusing,and sometimes dangerous.As parents,we can often feel that we are observing these difficult days through a damaged Prism where light particles pass through in an orderly way,but escape in chaos.What to do about it isn’t an easy thing it can be exhausting and nerve racking.However,we do go through these years,we live them with them,but in the knowledge that ,although a transitional stage into adulthood,it is the most interesting stage.

As yesterday to the mind of a ten year old might be quite simple in many ways,yesterday to a teenager will not be the case.We who have a duty of care to thrm have to understand that on the veery extremes of society,teenagers need protecting,as only a very sketchy understanding of the news will testify.Many teenagers are being radicalised,many abused,many just not loved,many feel lost,even if they are not.When no-one reaches out,when it’s “non of our business”,or my kids are alright,then isolation for them can be quite a toxic friend.As adults we are apt to talk about Altar egos,we are drawn to explanation,but when we are teenagers,we don’t know what is going on,we don’t understand our own selves,everything about ourselves -our bodies even -can become a mind field of confusion.So,the constantly of presence,the small things of being there,the patterns of saying,”I love you,your my son,my daughter,your precious I am going to help you becomes oh so very important.

Ely Now,to those parents who are doing that,I salute you and know that although it is so often a thankless task for many,many years,but ,it is,to me,the most rewarding thing that we could ever do,To those teenagers who don’t get the support of parents and carers,or they don’t feel loved,it is to those that we hope someone form the professions,or a more distant family member will reach out,because this help is so needed.To those who sigh and have an artistic sensitivity,these years can be traumatic,and these young people need support because without it,they can,and do,fall through the net.

My feelings for this new day are many teenagers prepare for the onset of examinations which will in many ways affect where they will be in the next few years,we as a society owe much to them.Our political masters feel that it is the norm now to burden them down with debt just to get an education that will allow them to earn a decent living.This,to me,seems very sad,and difficult in many ways.Young people will affect the planet that we live on,they are the ones who will have to act to basically safe it.

We,including me,are the adults,we the grown ups,we should want to listen to them,to not be shocked about them,to foster their ideas,and to allow those ideas water in which to grow,as without it,they are just worthless fantasies.

When I was a teenager,if you showed a talent for anything,and you were good at it,you could get a grant,you could get out of that council estate that situation call it what you like,and you could change your life.Hopefully,those of my generation remember enough about the good things that those days afforded them to think of giving back to the teenagers of our times.Now,it must,and has to start with our our children,because they really will affect the world in which we live.The perpetuation of the norm is no longer a viable option.

So,today,at this time,my mind is again on this precious and important group within our society.These people are not customers who but iPhones,or just download music and games,they are thinking young people who have a voice,who have opinions,who can affect our world for the good,and will do,if we respect them and allow them to grow through the pains of emotional growing and into full adulthood.

So many teenagers in Year 13  will be invisible in their study bubble,many will engage in stuff that might not fit our middle aged concepts,but grow they will.They are our future,and I have the blazing hope that they have more about them than many might suggest.

Just having a small part in their life is a privilege beyond compare.If we are part of the professions that are involved in young people,let’s do that with excitement,with joy,and with a compelling desire to give of ourselves.

Feel their pain,not bemoan them,support them,because they really are the ultimate emotional investment.

Thank you .


Sound Surprise!

In a little under a week,I will be going on holiday down to Devon.Being Cornish,it might appear to be an odd place to actually stay,but Devon,its coastline,and it’s sheer geographical scale compared to Cornwall is of great interest to me.

Over the years ,I have been lucky to have had some wonderful times along the Southern coastline of the county.Staying just along from Newton Ferras,watching the boats coming into to the estuary there is,to many,a simple pleasure,but to me,one that attracts me as it gives off its own sound.To elaborate,when there a just a light sea breeze,it’s just wonderful to capture those sounds,almost like some of the pianissimo parts of the second movement of the Chopin F minor concerto.Ive sat on the foreshore for hours and hours there soaking up that sound.These little trickles f water lapping against the estuary banks when a larger craft had just come into its moors,that almost “I’m home now “.

These sounds have always attracted me on the one hand,and ,on the other distracted me.I have heard the sea penetrating my imagination since I was a child.Members of my Cormish family who are long gone now would talk to me about the sea wanting its fill of you.As a child,I couldn’t really understand this,or I was confused by their terminology.As I grew to appreciate these sounds,I realised that the “actual sound of the sea”,is the soundtrack to my life.Yes,after almost 36 years of professional life as a music teacher,the sea,it’s sound ,it’s vibrations,it’s counterpoint,it’s perils,it’s “kiss me quick hats” is my soundtrack.

When I was studying,my teachers would say that I lacked concentration on the piece at hand,and that I was easily distracted.As a polemic of my education,it has its merits,but emotional intelligence in education back then wasn’t a part of the process,so the reasons why I was like this were never asked.However,I have to admitt that I am easily bored at times wth the familiar music tenets that people want to hang their knowledge on.My sense of a musical revisionist approach is now beginning to take shape after a number of Hours of thought.

If a blunt definition of music that we know it is “Organised Sound”,then my premise that music is everywhere,and,in my case,it’s very acute near ,or by the sea,then I am in error.However,if,as I might suspect,that many people dnt just go to the seaside to look,but to hear,and those sounds stay with them as memories often into later life,then maybe the definition of organised sound is far too tight,to rigid,too constraining.

Just as an abstract idea,if you were to ask 100 people why they liked being by the sea,I am not sure that they would exclusively highlight the visual.Yes,it would be understandable that what they saw would affect them,and it would stay with them,of that there is no doubt.

As a child when all my family would just love making sand castles,dreaming of one day owing a house like the one that they had just made out of sand,I was listening to the sea,soaking up its vibrations its pulses,it’s propulsion system,it’s dimensions,it’s whole it’s depth,it’s rip tides.

So,whoever gets to know me,knows that I obsess over sounds,and what it does to me.It doesn’t frighten me,but it captures me.

If your able to soak up just a bit of the sounds of the countryside,the hinterland then I am with you.

Have a lovely day.


This Day!

This day might not turn out to be the best or the worse of my life.At the moment,I hear the birds singing in my garden.They are warming their voices like all singers must to protect themselves so that they can sing again,sing again you see.Although they might not have what we like to call intelligence,they have an unbelievable hope in the joy of the moment,the rush to prepare for the next threat.

As humans things will affect us,and sometimes profoundly.Those things,if not balanced out,can lead us in a downward spiral of despair,but,but ,but,I say to myself,there is hope for so many of us,There is hope in life if you allow some sort of balance to affect you,Some of us feel that everything is up to us,that we somehow have to do everything in order to live,I dnt subscribe to that state.As I see it,there are always people out there,and that’s why I have hope for this day,even though I dnt know how it will pan out.

When we let people in,when we take a measure of control ourself,but are mindful that we need to be loved,cared for and cherished,then we become less inwardly depressed,less isolated,less concerned with blaming the world for our problems.

So,before this day begins,I honestly don’t know about the details,but I have a sketch,just like you do.But how do we fill in the detail,are we going to expect others to sort out our day?For me,I only need one moment,ne act,one touch,one glimmer to give me some light,some reason not to despair,not to just think that the whole world is against me.Truth is,the whole isn’t against us,people on the whole care,they do,and they are not to blame for whatever happens on,and in this day.Life when hope exists is truly worth it.

So when hope is gone,just like a flower that isn’t watered,then the end of that is totally negative and desolate.But,and it’s a big but,when hope exists,as it does I’m my life and I sincerely feel that it should in yours,then we can live and appreciate those moments,and even feed on them.Yes,those moments when you were special,and you were needed,and you were given a reason to feel good.

So whatever happens on this day,please hold unto your hope,for it is the greatest thing that we can have.Hold unto it my friends.

Just Sometimes!

Just sometimes,you have to count those good thngs in your life,

You have to look at the good n your life,and treasure what you do have.

Yes,I truly know that life can be tough,tough,tough,but take a step back for a moment,

Just pinch yourself for one moment,if you can breath,if you can walk unaided,if you are nt wired up to a machine tonight,

If you can answer yes to these questions then you are in a good place,yu truly are.

Why yes,we all want more,we are only human,but spare a thought for those who are suffering Tgis evening through no fault f their own,

Then,look in the mirror fr just a few seconds.Now,if you are healthy,then lease be grateful,and try to spread some good cheer to those near you,give them the jy of your healthy body,love them,love them,love them.
This is my blog for today.

Gratitude for my pupils!

As this little guy learnt to play his favourite song today,

As another child overcame her sadness at losing her grandma and played her piece,

As the reaction of a very shy girl in beng told that she has played her piece musically,

As it sunk down into my heart that I am a vey lucky man to be privileged to be in the company of young people and sharing my knowledge and love of music.

To me,that is the reason I still teach after over 35 years,and I am so,so grateful for it.

Finding Value in being wrong!

Wrong doesn’t mean as much as we fear,

Being wrong isn’t the end of our life,far from it.

You just can’t know everything,and the pursuit of that isn’t viable,

My knowledge is within very a very narrow field,and I’m still learning.

Each day I enjoy someone challenging me,as long as they are fair with it,

My life isn’t threatened by my saying,”I really didn’t know that,thank you for Tellng me”.

Living life in the knowledge that despite our best intentions we will not get it all right is,healthy,

What’s not emotionally intelligent is constant angst,constant arrogance from anyone,and not listening to a counter narrative.

When we think that we are perfect,just watch your work associates become cooler with you,oh,and watch your friends they will tend to disappear.

So,yes,I think it’s healthy to accept being wrong,saying sorry when you’ve been Jan arrogant Pratt,and stop taking ourselves so seriously.

You know,the sun comes up and comes down,try making the life that we lead in between more enjoyable for yourselves and others.

Just Observe!

 Yes we all like to experience things,it’s in our blood,and we feel,it’s the most important learning tool.So,the passive,sitting watching,observing stuff that I do might be relegated to the level of “Why”,”Boring,”you know ,at the bottom of the emotional survival chain that you need to get by.

So why am I writing abut this in my blog today?Why is the value of Observing ,or People watching so important to me?

Well,to get some insight into this,you have to go back to my roots,you have too because our roots at the very least have affected us,and in many ways define us,make us who we are.

When I was a very young boy,I had soent a good deal of time in hospital away from my mother.At the time,I hadn’t realised that this had affected my mother’s ability to keep my younger brother,and she was forced to have him adopted.So,as was the custom in working class families are large proportions back then,my care was taken over by my sister Shiela and she became my surrogate mother.That bond was as I now know fated,and not without good reason,for how could any elder sister be truly expected to take on the duties of a mother when she had yet to live a life of her own.

So,from an early age,I sort of learnt from observing the actions of my family.Yes,I loved them in my own way,but I was always detached from their bizarre decisions that sort of became a self perpetuation of misery.When your the youngest of nine and you never have any food and your mother moans about having to give up your younger brother for adoption,you have to observe it,then vow not to perpetuate it,or that destructive cycle continues.Yes,my family wasn’t unique up and down the country,but you can only really observe in your own environment,your own climate as it were.

So,yes,when you are part of a large family and your the youngest,and you are considered weird because you do music and you dnt have that many friends because you don’t like fighting as a prelude to a conversation,and you prefer to try to work Bach pieces out on the school piano,who tend to do a lot of observation.

For years,way into my late teens,I would constantly observe people in pubs where I played to see the affect of the drink on them.You see,I had grown up observing men work all week in the mine and quarries,only to blow it all on a Friday night and I observed the anguish looks of their wife’s as they knew that there was precious little left to feed their families.So yes,I have observed much of what we are apt to call working class angst,but believe you me,it’s no joke ,it truly is no joke.

So,what good has all this observation done me?Am I a better person?

Well,it has enabled me to break cycles myself,yes,it’s not been easy,but break them I have,and I’ve managed to have a life that looks underneath rather than judges on the exterior.I know that women don’t always get a good deal,but I also know that some women will need help to grow into people that love themselves,that are confident in themselves,and not just a thing owned and controlled by men.
As regards men,I have worked among men in quarries and mines,I know their anguish,I know what labouring in intense heat can do,and for me,it made me work at my music,it just pushed me to break the cycle of my ancestors.Yes,I was extremely lucky along the way,and I have catalogued this in my blog along the way,but I did my bit.

Yes,at times,life will always be about getting things done,but you do have to sit back and observe,take in the social view,maybe reflect on the good that people teach you,and take the bad that they do as a warning to you.When I say that I have been lucky,I’ve never been in trouble with the police,never taken drugs,never smoked,never been drunk and disorderly,but that doesn’t make me a better person,it means that the people who observed these pitfalls in me cared about me enough to alert me.Yes,at the time,I didn’t appreciate it,but as I got older ,I truly did.

So,in conclusion,I honestly do feel that we can learn much by observing others and what they do,and I dnt think that we give each ther enough credit in this world for all the good that they do for us.

Thank you for reading my muse for today,and for taking the time out of your day.


Giving of ourselves to aid those who want to Learn!

Yes,to many people who have to earn a Livng doing something that they would rather not do,the idea of actually doing somethng that yu love for a living would be bliss.Well,truthfully,it is,it really is.Although there will always be times when you feel that your not good enough,or that people don’t really want to hear your own brand of art.

As I see it,being a musician was my only real choice,there weren’t things that I could really do,or wanted to do.As I have often mentioned before,it’s the things that I have failed at that have made me stick at the Piano.As a youngsters,I was considered good at all the Brass instruments,but not exceptional,so,I gave them up to take up an organist post as a teenager.That served two purposes,it gave me vital experience of constantly playing each week,and it gave me a choral stipend,which to someone from my social circle was an absolute boon.

So,escaping the Cornish perils as regards employment of mining and fishing was an enormous things to me.Granted,the peer pressure exerted on the estate where I lived took its toll,but now that is just a memory.Now,after almost 36 years of teaching music,I am glad that I made the choice,and I am happy in it.

Now,coming on t the vocational side of music,because I feel that it’s vital to understand what all teachers should really understand.This is,and always has been,a giving profession.We have to give to others,in fact,when we find someone who ants to know about music,we should love to help them,giving them what was given us,and this aspect of goodwill can sometimes be lacking when people come to certain points in their career.

As I see it,I have no regrets in helping anyone ,it’s what I set out to do,and I will continue along that road of professional giving.

Yes,as I have often written,I have been incredibly lucky,and so blessed that good people put themselves out for me,and it’s completely natural that I should do the same.