Saturday, June 14, 2014
Helping musicians find their musical voice
In these days of tablets and laptops and those pointless computer games it is good to know there is still a demand from young people wanting to learn to play, write and make their own music.
Music teacher Phil Graves has been passing on his own knowledge and enthusiasm for many years in Ipswich.
More recently, at his Dove Studio, he has given individuals and bands the chance to practise, play and record their own music too.
Phil said: “I’ve been involved in music all of my life. I played in my first band, as a 15-year-old, on bass guitar.
“I have been doing this since I did my music degree at Colchester Institutue.
“Then the institute was a formal music school, now it is more a rock and pop kind of thing.
“Personally I am very much into recording original music.
“I left there (Colchester) in 1995 after going there as a mature student.
“Now my work is probably 80% teaching and 20% recording.”
The spacious studio is large enough for several musicians or a group of students to write and perform their own pieces.
“I taught music for 20 years, from my home, before setting up the studio here,” he said.
“I have set the place up for people to play together.
“You can record songs in your own bedrooms, on a computer and with a drum machine. but a studio is a better choice. You get something special when you play `live’ together.
“It is set up for bands really. It is very much about people playing together.”
His pupils range from six years=old to 18 years, in the main, with some adult students as well.
He teaches piano, guitar and bass and aims to encourage song writing.
“I have written songs all my life.
“My own band, White Foot Lane, mainly records. We are sort of rock/country/pop.
“We do work on original material and then go on to record it.”
Unsurprisingly his favourite band is The Eagles. “If I was on a desert island I would want to take an Eagles record.
“Peaceful, Easy Feeling is so simple, just three chords, but absoluely beautiful.”
He passes that love of music on to his students.
“I encourage them to sing a lot and to especially to write their own stuff.
“It is about trying to get to their enthusiasm for music.
“It is about getting to their enthusiasm - but you have to work hard at something if you want to be good at it.”
He encourages pupils to work together in groups making music.
“I organise them into little groups. They are prepared to perform and commit.”
Every summer he organises a summer concert in the Steamboat Tavern in Ipswich Waterfront, a well known live music venue, for the students to show off their talents at the end of the year.
“I have been doing that for 15 years, with the support of Val there, and this year it is on Sunday July 20.”
It was always a great occasion, he said, with young people performing for their parents and friends.