Elisabeth Rose has always had an appreciation for music. I love how she has incorporated it into her family life.
When I was a child our house was full of music. My Mum was a really good pianist and Dad sang. In fact that’s how they met — at someone’s musical soiree.
Dad had a clarinet for some reason, he never played it that I remember, but when I was twelve I began lessons. I really wanted to play the oboe but we didn’t have one so clarinet it was. My older brother learned the trumpet and still plays, and later on my much younger brother played classical percussion. I went on to do a performance degree, as did my percussionist brother.
Mum’s family were all enthusiastic amateur musicians and insisted on Christmas sing-alongs and performances from those who were able to play something. I remember Mum playing the piano and Dad singing German folk songs, or my uncle playing the violin with Mum accompanying. Do people do that anymore?
My own family does in a way. I married a jazz drummer. The kids grew up with a house full of musicians (sometimes whole bands, in transit, sleeping on the floor) and rehearsals so it’s no wonder they’re both addicted to music. My daughter, at about 4 years old, used to dress up and dance Isadora Duncan style to my husband’s very avante garde jazz group. The guys thought she was fantastic.
Our son is a professional bass player, both jazz double bass and electric. Our daughter learned piano and is a very educated listener—doesn’t do the Isadora dancing anymore though. Our son’s fiancée is a singer so we have some fun gatherings with impromptu jamming at Christmas while preparing food. I try to hold my own as the sole classical musician in this team. I can play pretty much anything but I need my music written down!
Here’s a tip for anyone with little children. Teaching them about music doesn’t have to be organised and structured, or paid for. Have music in the house, in the car etc. Sing, dance at home with them to anything that comes on. Play a variety of music from classical to jazz, pop, rock, world music — anything, even if you don’t know about it yourself. Find out together. Little kids are totally uninhibited and love to dance and clap. Encourage it and make it a natural part of their world, not something they have to learn. Make it a family thing.
We used to play singing games on car trips. Eg everyone took it in turns to sing part of a song with a particular word in it. The winner was the one who ran out of songs last. Eg songs with blue in them. Or someone would start a song and stop and the next person had to continue with the next word but in a different song with the new melody. My daughter was very creative, she’d make up her own songs and lyrics J
I’ve taught clarinet privately for many, many years and love opening up my students to the joy, wonder and beauty of music in solo and group playing. I’ve discovered that the Baroque era is a sure fire hit with teens. They love the solid beat, familiar harmony and melodies that go where they’re supposed to in a very satisfying manner eg Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Purcell etc Along with those classics, Henry Mancini is a favourite because of his great tunes and strong beats. Eg The Pink Panther, Peter Gunn Theme and The Baby Elephant Walk. Then there’s Funky Town . . . My clarinet ensembles cover it all! If I can’t buy the music I want I transcribe from piano versions and arrange it for them.
Ensemble playing is one of the great joys of music making. I play in a wind trio comprising flute, clarinet and bassoon. We’ve been together for twenty five years although the flute player has changed a few times. We play weddings and cocktails parties etc
When I began writing, musicians were the natural subject for me to use and I was able to put in anecdotes and experiences from my career but I’ve branched out into other professions for my characters on occasion.
My next release Mango Kisses doesn’t have much music in it at all but it does have sun and sand and a sexy hero called Miles—who could conceivably have been named after jazz trumpeter extraordinaire, Miles Davis, and who enjoys listening to Steely Dan, our family favourite.
Mango Kisses from Escape publishing is available for preorder from Amazon and will be released on November 1st.
Sent to assess a deceased estate in a small coastal town, ambitious city girl Tiffany Holland is initially annoyed by the out-of-the-way assignment. But she soon discovers sleepy Birrigai hides a wealth of surprises: a cross-dressing motel manager, a Kissing College and her client Miles Frobisher, the laid back, surf-shop owning, real life sex fantasy.
Tiffany’s ambition is to become a junior partner in her financial firm, but small town life and the proximity of Miles gradually seduce her. But a shocking discovery in the estate papers leads to a dramatic change in Miles’s circumstances. Emotionally inept, Tiffany is unable to help Miles through the transition, and drives him away. With misunderstandings and secrets creating frost between them, it seems that their summer romance is destined to go cold. Can they overcome their differences and learn to accept their feelings?