Why are you a musician?
I started learning ukulele when I was about 13, from my Mum, and have loved music ever since. Almost 60 years later, I still enjoy the sound of musical instruments played singly or with others, and I love both the simplicity and complexity of bluegrass music.
Why are you teaching music?
Helping other people get the same enjoyment from playing a musical instrument as I have had is one of the great rewards of being able to play.
What are you up to at the moment (musically)?
I teach from my home in Hamilton East; I play in the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band at occasional gigs; I play in an ‘Irish’ band named Reelmen, at ceilidhs and parties, and with two of my four sons, Sam and Tim, in a group playing original and contemporary music with a ‘bluegrass’ groove.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I like students to learn the basics of the instrument – for banjo, a simple picking style, basic chords, and how to play with other musicians; for mandolin, how to pick melodies as well as how to play chords and fit in with other musicians. As soon as possible, I like to get my students to ‘play along’ with simple songs, as well as playing specific melodies. Mostly, how to have fun.