Issue 1: Why “The Music Jungle”?


Music is what I do for pleasure, and for a living. My days and evenings in term time are filled with listening to music, teaching music, talking about music, sharing music, and most importantly, playing music. So it seemed obvious the “Music” should be in the title of the website.


If you look up the word “jungle” in a Thesaurus, you will get two different paths to follow;. Tracking down the first path, you find fantastic words such as “verdant”, wild”, “lush” and more scientific-sounding words such “arborical”, “silvicultural”, “dendrologeous”, giving an idea of the richness of the jungle environment. Turn aside to the other path, and your encounter “confusion”, “labyrinth”, and “rumpus” to choose just three out of the hundreds of suggestions.

“Music Jungle”!

In my experience this pretty well sums up the world of teaching music. It is a wild ride, through both well-known and unexplored territory. You can spend forty-five minutes stretched to your limit by a class of three dozen ten-year-olds using every instrument in the school to create music depicting storms. Then, in a matter of minutes, you are listening to the next three dozen children performing exquisite sound pictures to accompany a journey through space, using the same instruments as before, but with a delicacy and sensitivity that catches you completely unawares.

This doesn’t just happen in school music lessons.

In the piano lessons I teach at home, I can be dealing with the same extremes from one lesson to the next. In the space of one evening I will teach a complete beginner who is still unsure of which hand is which, never mind which finger is which. Then I will listen and advise on the final performance by a teenager about to take their Grade 7 exam. Next comes a student, who hates scales, won’t learn scales, won’t practise scales (but still wants to do piano exams) and it needs every persuasive skill I possess to make it possible for them to overcome their obstinacy and just do what needs to be done.Finally I might spend half an hour rehearsing with an instrumentalist, also about to take an exam, but who has never played with a “live” accompanist before.

So there you have it. “The Music Jungle”. Take a deep breath and explore…


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