SYDNEY — Few musicians enter their occupation with out going by means of a childhood full of years of classes however as Juno nominee Stephen Richardson can attest, it’s not the one approach to make music.
In reality, Richardson didn’t begin to learn to play guitar till he was 21. It’s typically thought-about to be a sophisticated age to be taught an instrument, particularly when you’ve got skilled intentions and he admits he thought the identical approach himself on the time.
“On the time I believed 21 was too previous to start out an instrument (brain-based analysis has since disproven this as soon as frequent notion) and I believed working for papers in Halifax as an album critic was sufficient for me,” Richardson, 47, stated in a current e mail interview from his dwelling in Yellowknife, N.W.T., the place he now teaches music and has simply been nominated as MusiCounts Music Instructor of the Yr by means of the Junos.
“As soon as I began I used to be quickly practising eight to 10 hours a day. It modified my life and my complete focus. Inside a few years I used to be accepted into the St. FX jazz program and music turned my calling with a powerful internal want to share all this superb stuff that I used to be studying.”
Every year, the MusiCounts Instructor of the Yr Award acknowledges an inspirational Canadian music educator’s influence on college students and music training. For the primary time within the historical past of the award, the charity has chosen 5 nominees.
The nominees can be invited to attend the Juno Gala Dinner and Awards on Saturday, Could 15 as part of Juno Week in Toronto. If Richardson is chosen as this 12 months’s winner, he would be the recipient of a $10,000 money donation in direction of the music program of St. Joseph faculty in Yellowknife the place he teaches from MusiCounts, in addition to a crystal statuette based mostly on the Juno Award design.
Richardson is from Grand River and went to high school in close by St. Peter’s in Richmond County. His mother and father each loved singing and there was normally music starting from Dionne Warwick to Miles Davis taking part in at dwelling. He was additionally uncovered to a lot conventional Scottish music and the Gaelic language.
“We’d stroll into the nation retailer and the previous individuals would greet us youngsters in Gaelic. It was additionally a standard factor to stroll exterior in the summertime and listen to somebody on their deck taking part in bagpipes or the fiddle. The sound would echo off the water and fill the complete night.”
It sounds idyllic however as a result of the group was small, music instruction was restricted. The college he attended didn’t provide a band program. He cherished rock and spent hours listening to it, unknowingly coaching his ear to his future work in music mixing and manufacturing.
After a good friend advised he be taught the guitar, on the age of 21 he determined to present it a attempt. A number of years later, he was accepted into the St. Francis Xavier College jazz program in Antigonish as a guitar main, accomplished the diploma after which adopted up with an training diploma. In 2005 he moved north from Vancouver so he might give attention to educating music and band for Yellowknife Catholic Faculties. He additionally recorded with different artists, gave guitar classes and performed three nights per week.
“It was all music, on a regular basis and that was my precedence.”
It was a life that he loved however when COVID-19 hit, he needed to utterly rethink his educating program, particularly since all the things moved on-line.
“This made educating topics like phys ed and band difficult however I imagine it made me higher at my topic and tips on how to current it,” he stated. “To assist college students take care of their feelings surrounding the uncertainty of COVID-19 I made a decision it will be necessary to give attention to centring our musical apply round mindfulness strategies and self-regulation. We dove into intensive items on djembe hand drumming, xylophones and guitar,” since conventional band devices and choir usually are not allowed till the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
“Now we have additionally explored all kinds of free music tech and apps. College students used these to create their very own COVID-19 rap teams and music movies as singing is banned and to create their very own video video games and their very own background music for these video games. The raps proved vastly common as a method to precise their emotions concerning the pandemic.”
Regardless of all the issues attributable to the restrictions, Richardson believes the revised educating program has gone over properly and that college students are adapting properly.
“The scholars are dealing with their new world state of affairs significantly better than might be anticipated. I imagine music actually helped lots of them they usually have helped me perceive that we are able to maintain doing this in a significant approach.”
Whereas he’s pleased to see them doing properly he’s additionally amused by their response to his nomination.
“Receiving this nomination (for the MusiCounts Music Instructor of the Yr award by means of the Junos) and getting to look at it reside with my college students throughout the Junos bulletins … it was surreal,” he stated. “It was additionally hilarious to look at my college students see them announce classes with Alanis Morissette, Justin Beiber and Eminem after which later announce Mr. Richardson.
“Properly, my college students had been dumbfounded. They saved asking me to rewind it.”