I started to learn the piano when I was 7 years old and worked steadily through the ABRSM graded exams. As a child, teenager and young adult I would play to entertain family and friends. When I was 13, one of my first paid jobs was to play the piano for ballet dancing classes. This was good training and discipline for me and I learnt a lot about how to accompany others and play different styles of music on demand. The ballet instructor was fairly eccentric and exacting, if I remember ri ghtly but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless. I took my Grade 5 theory exam when I was 12 and Grade 7 practical at 17. I never tried for Grade 8, unfortunately, as I think I felt I had enough to do at the time studying for my ‘A’ levels.
As a teenager I gave piano lessons to some children and a young adult, although at that age I must have surely lacked the maturity and knowledge to do a very good job.
I also learnt to play the bassoon which was a lot of fun as well as the church organ albeit to a somewhat basic level. In my late teens and early twenties I played the organ in various churches in the villages around Chard, south Somerset, where I grew up, playing hymns on a variety of bizarre organ instruments.
For many years I only played the odd piece on the piano very irregularly as I was busy doing other things like having children. It wasn’t until December 2008 when I offered to play the piano to accompany the nursery and reception children at my daughters’ primary school nativity play that I started to think that I’d like to seriously rediscover my love of playing the piano.
So I joined our local church’s worship band and I now have a great time with them, writing and playing our own secular material. I’m continuously learning from this most organic experience and we’re soon to record our first EP. I play the piano with various combinations of our worship band, occasionally all, in church most Sundays which I find soul enriching. We play at Carols in the Park in our local Victoria Park at Christmas time, host musical events in church and play in church concerts.
I love being part of the great post punk power pop cover band which is known as SmÄll, famous all over Windmill Hill, even as far afield as Totterdown and Knowle. I’m just the keyboard player of course. We’ve played for all sorts of occasions – weddings, birthday parties, outdoor events, street parties, Christmas Fairs and we’ve headlined a couple of big gigs at the fine music club/pub establishment – The Thunderbolt.
I live on Windmill Hill in South Bristol. So whether you or your child would like to work your way through the ABRSM, LCM or Trinity exams as I have done or whether you'd just like some help learning a favourite song or piece, please get in touch.