A lot of people think of Concept Music primarily as a guitar shop (which is probably understandable when you look around my shop as it is today) but that’s not actually how I started out. As some of you may know, I’m actually trombone player, so when I opened my store back in 1980 it was pretty much selling brass and wind instruments, and that’s still a really big thing for me.
Back in 1972, I was fortunate enough to be in the very first intake of music students at Perth Modern School when they first started a new, special Schools music programme… weirdly, I still think of it a “new” programme but of course it isn’t now!
Trombone was the only instrument I wanted to play and to this day I can’t explain why… I’d never even laid eyes on a trombone till my first lesson! In one of my interviews I remember being asked what instrument was my first choice? Answer: Trombone… Q: “And if you can’t have trombone, what is your second choice?” I said “trombone” again to their bemusement. I felt so, so lucky when they said I got the only trombone position available… though looking back I now release I was probably the only one that wanted to play trom (enter all the trombone jokes!).
Brass and woodwind in Schools is still a huge a passion for me. I would dearly love every kid in every school to have the opportunity of playing in a band like I did, it’s a terrific experience to get to perform on stage.
There’s not many things like that when you’re a kid – if you’re good at sport you get in the team; if you’re good at Maths you score well; but music is something you do as a community. You need everybody working together to make it all balanced and to make it work and sound ‘right’. For me, one of the great things about a band programme is that kids don’t have to be ‘the best’ to be part of it and to play an important role. You need the 3rd trumpet player, the 3rd clarinet player, as well as the 1st trumpet player and clarinet player etc, so even if you’re not the great (yet), or you’re still progressing, you’re still an vital part of the programme and an important part of the band and you still get to perform on the stage with everyone else.
For me I was lucky enough to be able to continue on after leaving School and I played professionally for some years before opening Concept Music but of course I realise that not every kid who learns at School will go and make a career out of music…. most will “give up” at least for a while or at some stage. But for me that’d just as natural as acknowledging that not every kid that plays football or soccer or basketball with go on to play professionally when they leave School… it doesn’t mean the experience wasn’t worthwhile and the argument “what if they give up?” is no more relevant to music than it is to playing a sport and is the worst possible reason not to give them a chance.
Learning music stays with you for life and enriches not just your own life but of everyone around you.