Outlook Church has talent

The church I attend is called Outlook Church. We had our annual talent evening, with some really outstanding items. My wife (Anne) and I were adjudicators. I was asked to do two items – one for cello and one for Sax and Euph.

Here are 2 photos showing intense concentration. I was actually really enjoying what I was doing.


The Sax/Euph piece I played was “God help the Outcasts”. I started with Sax and swopped half way through to the Euphonium.

The Cello piece I played was the Scerzo OP. 12 by Daniel van Goens. A real fun  piece.



When I was preparing for my Piano Performers Licentiate a couple of years back and the 3 years build up to it, I was spending 8 hours a day, 7 days a week at the piano – I didn’t have the time to fail so I made sure I was well prepared. When I first started long sessions, I would find that after x amount of hours, I had achieved absolutely nothing. When this started happening regularly, I took stock and realised that I had wasted those hours and came up with this expression:




I’m not saying that I must suddenly have a whole new page learnt or the technique down pat. My improvement could be one slur, one note, one nuance, etc. I needed to see that my practise time was being constructively used.


So maybe you are a parent or student reading this. You do not need to spend an hour a day practising fruitlessly. Sometime the 10 minute focused practice session is more fruitful than a week. Add to this that a child usually doesn’t have an attention span longer than their age, and parents (sometimes teachers too) insist that the child does an hour.


Music should be fun, satisfying , enjoyable. We need to practice wisely to maximise our time and not kill it because “we HAVE to practice an hour”.

So look to improve every time you are at your instrument. You WILL make excellent progress.


I hope this helps somebody…..

Metrenome use

I have often wondered about using a metrenome in my lessons for beginners and never did anything.

Today I started clapping rhythms with my beginners but included the use of a metrenome too. It takes 3-5 minutes of the lessons and I know will have an effect and impact on their rhythm and accurate playing.

Music Adjudication

I have just finished 3 intense days of music adjudicating local talent. Here are some observations and thoughts.

1) There are definite strengths and weaknesses across the full spectrum of students.

2) I wonder what weaknesses are visible in my students’ playing?

3) Pay attention to the smallest detail. Every note, dote, black mark has a purpose.

4) Don’t teach music because you are under pressure for the kids to perform. Actually lay the foundations securely even if it means revisiting basics and teaching at a slower pace.

5) Don’t teach parrot fashion – get the students to understand every rhythm and every note.

6) Teach stylistically – especially Baroque touch – semi-detached notes.

7) Make music Fun – Sometimes we are too stuck-up/traditional and lose the relevancy of the joy of teaching music and its holistic effect  on education, sport, self-worth etc.


If teaching music is no longer a passion,  then ………


Sheet Music

As a South African, I have been nervous about buying sheetMusic overseas.


I would highly recommend SheetMusicPlus – see the banner.

Prices are cheaper than in South Africa.  Service is good. They are good at sorting out “issues” – no cd, damaged pages etc.

Not only do they have a good range of music but they also have a good range of teaching resources – dot to dot, rhythm soduko, instrument posters, crossword puzzles etc.

Birth of a Studio

My studio was born out of a need for a seperate section in the house to teach. I tought in a room that had 2 archways – one led to the lounge and the other to the entrance hall/kitchen area.

I suppose there were advantages – I got the aroma of cooking food every night.

But I could not stop the sounds of visitors, or people looking in, or my wife telling my kids in sweet loud dulcet tones how they should be doing their homework.

At the same time, my twins who were a boy and a girl shared a room but were at the age where they needed their own rooms.

So I “sacrificed” my teaching room after we turned the garage into a studio.

Oh yes I also forgot to mention that it was at this time that I started learning/playing the violin. My wife came to me one day (after an hour of hacking scales) and suggested I practice when she went out…….


Almost from the same viewpoint – 2004



Hello world!

Have decided that my site needed a facelift hence the blog now and bye-bye to html coding. Please bear with me as this is a total redo and may take a bit of time.

Either way – am enjoying good red wine and listening to the soundtrack of Flicka.

Enjoy the weekend


I would appreciate comments (even though the site is incomplete) or recommendations