Meet Head of Instrumental Music, Mr Power

  1. How long have you been working at Clarendon?
    I began working at Clarendon in 2021 as a trumpet teacher and ensemble director after moving to Ballarat from Melbourne. Twelve months on, I moved into the classroom and took on the Head of Instrumental Music role.
  2. What does your current role entail?
    As well as teaching trumpet to a handful of private students and in the Year 4 and Year 7 band programs, I also teach Year 9 Music and VCE VET Music Performance. As an ensemble director, I conduct the Graeme Vendy Symphonic Band in weekly rehearsals and prepare them for various events. I also run the Barry Currie Stage Band, which specialises in big band jazz, Latin, funk, swing and other hybrid styles. In the Head of Instrumental Music role, I help facilitate monthly lunchtime concerts for our students to gain performance experience and several evening soirées over the course of the year. I also attend instrumental lessons to harvest best practice from our instrumental teachers and share successful one-on-one teaching ideas as professional learning.
  3. Aside from your teaching role, what are some of the other roles you’ve undertaken or activities you’ve been involved in during your time?
    Directing ensembles is a great opportunity to get out into the community and share our music with others. In my time, I’ve been lucky to take the Barry Currie Stage Band to festivals like the Victorian Schools Music Festival in Melbourne, South Street Eisteddfod in Ballarat, Generations in Jazz festival in Mount Gambier and, locally, to perform with our friends at Ballarat Grammar School in some fundraising concerts for Ukraine and Beyond Blue.
  4. What do you enjoy most about working at Clarendon?
    I genuinely love seeing my students catch the infectious buzz of music-making as they experience all of the brilliant opportunities they have at Clarendon. Each time there is a concert, festival or production, you can see how much they grow as musicians and learn that sharing music with others is a real gift.
  5. What was your pathway before becoming a teacher?
    I studied a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts, specialising in orchestral trumpet playing. Once completed, I took a brief detour, working in superannuation whilst playing trumpet casually in the Melbourne Opera Company and local Melbourne traditional jazz group, Shirazz. I then decided I couldn’t stand working in a job that didn’t involve making music. So, I lived in Manchester for two years after that, performing with several brass bands across Europe. Upon my return to Australia, I undertook some instrumental teaching before realising I enjoyed the challenge of helping young people to understand music and wanted to learn more about it. I enrolled in a Master of Teaching at The University of Melbourne and the rest was history. I became the Head of Performing Arts at the school I was working at in Fitzroy and was able to engage wholeheartedly in the classroom and management of a music program.
  6. Which instruments do you play and which one is your favourite?
    My main instrument is the trumpet and I play other variations including the cornet, flugelhorn and piccolo. Having directed a few brass bands, I also have some experience with other brass instruments including the horn, euphonium and trombone. Engaging in classroom music has seen me pick up a few extra basic skills on keyboard, the drums and electric bass, but I wouldn’t take a gig on them without some serious practice!
  7. What else do you like to do in your spare time?
    Spare time is fairly rare as a teacher and musician, as I like to keep myself busy playing and conducting at a semi-professional standard. This involves playing gigs with a local eclectic jazz group called Twilight Gypsi, playing for Victoria Brass and Eureka Brass, conducting the Ballarat Memorial Concert Band and picking up other various freelance trumpet playing at weddings, theatre productions and festivals. Away from music I love to cook, socialise, and go for walks with my wife and two whippets.