Besides his pioneering work with jazz-fusion legends The Yellowjackets, Russell Ferrante has collaborated with other great artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Joni Mitchell and Al Jarreau. If that wasn’t enough, he’s a greatly respected educator through his work at the Berklee School and Thornton School of Music. He is also a delightful and humble person who took time out from his packed schedule to share stories with with Neil Moore.
Archive for the ‘Talk Music’ Category
By Gordon Harvey
Geoffrey Williams grew up with the soul music of the 60’s, singing around the house and dreaming of being signed to the Atlantic label like his idols. He achieved that, and a whole lot more, including performing at major venues worldwide and writing songs for the likes of Michael Jackson and Dusty Springfield. So what brought him from all that across the world to the little community of Daylesford in rural Victoria, Australia? In part it was the prospect of raising a family with his Australian partner, a Simply Music Piano Teacher, and in part it was discovering the love of teaching. As he puts it,”Being a teacher, you’re still on stage”.
In this conversation with Gordon Harvey, Geoffrey discusses the strange phenomenon of Synaesthesia, shares some surprising tips for the beginning songwriter and explains his clever Short Song on the Fly project, even creating an exclusive Short Song “Peaks, Valleys, Plateaus” just for Simply Music.
By Gordon Harvey
“There’s a lot more to it than actually writing music”.
Screen composer Burkhard Dallwitz has an international reputation for his work, including the Golden Globe-winning score for the film The Truman Show, Olympic themes and the multiple award-winning Underbelly television series. In this conversation with Gordon Harvey he talks about the unique challenges and rewards of working in this rarefied world. We finish the chat with “Remember the Good Times” from the new Underbelly: Squizzy series.
By Mark Meritt
“It’s not a metaphor – it’s actually literally what we do all the time, this conversation, we’re improvising”.
Kat Koppett lowered the curtain on a classical singing career when she discovered the joys of improvisation. Since then, besides founding the wonderful Spontaneous Broadway, she has developed “applied improv” in the corporate world, training people to use creativity in their work, an increasingly valued skill in the 21st century. In this conversation with Mark Meritt she shows how creativity is a gift we all not only possess but use all the time, which, if we are aware enough of it, can deeply enrich our lives.
Kat shares the secret of “yes, and” versus “yes, but”, and the value of celebrating failure. And at the end of this quite extensive but rewarding interview Mark accompanies Kat on a (inexpertly recorded but enthusiastically delivered) totally unscripted Spontaneous Broadway improv on the vital Simply Music concept of the Long-Term Relationship.
“It’s a shame that we tend to live in a society where we leave music-making to the experts”. Not that Linsey Pollak is a non-expert, far from it. Having spent most of his life studying music and designing and making instruments, it’s just that he believes in music as an inclusive activity. Here he speaks with Caroline and Hannah Schmidli about his amazing world of home made instruments and how even music made from a carrot, a length of hose or a hand-turned wooden saxophone can be serious and innovative, and can share important messages too. The interview concludes with samples of two of his instruments – the watering can clarinet and rosella.
As a visual artist, Luke Jerram might appear to be an unlikely candidate for a discussion about music, but it turns out music and sound are favourite media for many of his sculpture projects and art installations. His work Aeolus is a striking blend of visual beauty and eerie wind-driven drones, and his Sky Orchestra is an amazing touring event which supplies music to sleeping citizens from flotillas of hot-air balloons. But we were especially interested to talk with him about Play Me, I’m Yours, his project bringing pianos en masse to public locations – street corners, parks, train stations, galleries and more – in selected cities around the world, allowing anyone to play and enjoy. In this interview he shares stories with Leanne van Heerwaarden about the way this project has reached millions of people and changed lives.
His next Play Me, I’m Yours events are in Munich (May), Cleveland (July), Omaha (August) and Boston (September). You can also learn more about Luke and some of his other works at his website.
“Music is the only language that has no barriers”. Singer-songwriter, two-time Golden Guitar winner and music educator Lyn Bowtell is passionate about sharing music. Here she talks with Gretta Dunn about her career, the joy of performing, and her work with the wonderful Songroom program in schools with kids who otherwise may never have experienced playing music.
Patricia Bartell is a pioneer in the study of classical accordion, international championship winner and judge, and now co-developer with Neil Moore of the brand new Hohner-certified Simply Music Accordion program. Here she talks with Neil about her multi-instrumental background, how she stumbled on Simply Music and the resurgence of the versatile accordion.
“I love…when people think something is ‘impossible’, to break that down and think ‘I’m possible’…”
Jonathon Welch is an Australian institution in multiple music-related fields, and a truly inspiring individual. As a tenor, he has had over 60 stage roles including Principal Tenor in just about every major production in Australia from Aida to The Gondoliers, singing opposite the likes of Dame Joan Sutherland.
On another plane, he has been the founder and leader of many of Australia’s best-known community choirs, work which has led to multiple awards right up to an Order of Australia and the Australian of the Year Local Hero award in 2008. He is a respected educator and adjudicator in various areas of vocal music and travels around the country and internationally as a supporter and conductor of choirs and choral music, and a sought-after motivational speaker.
Jonathon is perhaps most famous as the Founding Music Director for the Choir of Hard Knocks, designed to support physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged people, and has led them through hard work and hope to perform at sellout concerts at the Sydney Opera House and other major venues. This wonderful story was the subject of a hugely popular and award-winning television documentary and earned the choir a Platinum ARIA for their first CD From the Heart.
In typical style, Jonathon has used his experience with the choir, now known as the Choir of Hope and Inspiration, to launch into an exciting new venture, the School of Hard Knocks, which develops his vision into an institution teaching music, singing, drama, writing, visual arts and other creative fields, focusing on those disadvantaged people who can most benefit from and most deserve creative expression. Our own Kerry Verdon has been voluntarily teaching Simply Music keyboard lessons as part of this program. You can hear her part of the story in our Teacher of the Month feature.
The interview is an inspiring look into what drew Jonathon into a life in music, how music and singing have given him hope and strength to take leaps of faith, why he’s driven to “give something back” to those people who are so often put in the too-hard basket, and why he is known as the “Town Crier”.