TEACHER OF DRUMS AND GUITAR
Ben's relationship with music began with learning piano at the age of 5. He quickly developed an aptitude for the instrument, attaining a High Distinction and Distinction in Trinity College Preliminary and First Grade exams respectively. His ability, however, was marred by his proclivity for frustration during practice sessions. Think of Don Music from Sesame Street and you have a pretty accurate idea of those sessions. Ben consequently gave up learning piano at age 9 and, aside from a brief foray into saxophone, didn't return to any sort of musical study until he discovered drums at age 16.
"The story that epitomises my relationship with music is that of my first public performance, playing piano in a students' concert my parents had organised. I was around the age of 7 and so nervous that I cried myself off stage without playing a note. I would have stayed off the stage, but thanks to my parents' encouragement and the love of music they had instilled in me, I came back later in the concert to play every note I originally intended to."
Taking up drums in 1993 proved to be Ben's musical saviour, getting him interested in music again through the styles of drummers such as Lars Ulrich from Metallica, Tico Torres from Bon Jovi, and Rick Allen from Def Leppard. This quickly progressed to an enthusiasm for jazz and fusion drummers such as Dave Weckl, Virgil Donati and David Jones, and resulted in Ben's participation in playing many different styles of music. Ben gained a wide range of performance experience playing in such varied ensembles as the rock band Silent Scream (that he formed with his sister Heather), Newcastle University Wind Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble, and Waratah Brass Band. It had only ever been a hobby as he had the HSC to concentrate on, and after school, he studied Computer Science and started a career in IT. However, after working in the IT industry for 17 years and performing in his spare time, he decided that he wanted to spend less time worrying and more time enjoying the gift of music. So, with his wife 3 months pregnant with their first child, Ben gave up his full-time career in IT to pursue music teaching. Possibly the worst timing since the band Dream Theater released their album "Live Scenes From New York" on September 11, 2001 . Despite the initial hardship of changing his career at a critical time, it has proven to be an inspired decision. Ben loves seeing and hearing his students progress, and his students love the enthusiasm with which he conducts his tuition.
"My relationship with music began tentatively as I always tried to live up to a standard that didn't exist. After a long personal journey, I now realise that the greatest joy of music lies not in getting to a particular standard, but in endeavouring to express through sound what is most human about us. This is what I hope to pass on to my students."