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What a wonderful world

Today I was inspired. I woke up to a fantastic video posted by my friend Duane Padilla. He has done things for me on my MUS654 music course- recorded videos, and chatted to us in one of our hangouts – he is an all round inspiring musician. Today he shared this video of himself playing a multi-track version of ‘Let it Snow’ using an app called Acapella.

Duane discovered this app right after it was released and spread the word quickly – basically it lets you record multi-track 1 minute videos for free. He had sent me a happy birthday track a week ago, and I have been mentioning the app to my students and other musicians, and I kept thinking to myself… the next time I have a ‘free day’ I should have a go with that app…

Today was that day! My aim was to do the first minute of Louis Armstrong’s live performance of ‘What a Wonderful World’. Here’s what I ended up with:


Thanks for the inspiration Duane!

This first effort goes to Charlotte, who asked me to play a song for her. 🙂


Beyond the box

We’ve all heard about thinking outside the box. How about thinking outside the bucket? What about thinking outside…

Outside the discipline?

Outside the medium?

How about opening your mind beyond the box?

In couple of recent classes I asked my students to show me music. I did’t want an essay – did’t want to have words. I want them to experience music in another way, and then to be able to recognise and communicate this to others.


Because we are all unique. I will never really know you, I cannot be a spectator inside your experience, your mind. For me that means that as a teacher I will never really know my students or as a performer, my audience, but if I can learn to communicate and experience in different ways, then perhaps I will have more of a chance of connecting. –or at least of gaining and giving a window into that communication.

I suppose it stems from a constructivist approach to learning, that we do and the more different ways you do something, the more likely it is to stick and sink in:

Write it. Read it. Speak it. Hear it. Feel it. Touch it. Taste it

(ok that is going too far for most academic subjects. We would all prefer not to eat our words… unless written on rice paper and then that is a totally fun exercise).

The idea of doing those things gives a holistic experience and often opens our minds to seeing whatever ‘it’ is in a new light. Read more