Mak­ing marimba mu­sic

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

Good­bye recorders. Farewell ukule­les. There’s a new in­stru­ment strik­ing up in­ter­est among schoolaged play­ers.

Marimba fever has hit Eden­dale Pri­mary School thanks to the en­thu­si­as­tic guid­ance of mu­sic teacher Jeremy Hantler.

Mr Hantler took over from for­mer mu­sic teacher Roshan Gul, who left the school a legacy of three large wooden marimba that she pur­chased last year with help of the Li­ons and the Perry Foun­da­tion to the tune of $8000.

‘‘The marimba is a fan­tas­tic in­tro­duc­tory in­stru­ment for the pri­mary school child,’’ Mr Hantler says.

‘‘It fun­da­men­tally, with very min­i­mal skill, makes a re­ally nice sound and fosters a pos­i­tive mu­si­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

The school also has a num­ber of smaller marimba, or xy­lo­phones, which it uses to form the base of its pop­u­lar marimba group.

Mr Hantler gets the group to per­form at all sorts of events, in­clud­ing the NZ Marimba Fes­ti­val in Septem­ber.

Year 6 stu­dent Wi­nona Lee says join­ing the group brought out her hid­den tal­ent.

‘‘I used to think I wasn’t very mu­si­cal but once I tried the marimba and per­cus­sion I found that mu­sic is fun and it’s in you for your whole en­tire life,’’ the 10-yearold says.

Mr Hantler, who holds an hon­ours de­gree in jazz drum­ming, is so en­cour­aged by the stu­dents’ re­sponse he is launch­ing Eden­dale Marimba Academy with re­spected mu­sic ed­u­ca­tor Mil­lie Locke.

‘‘There are lots of girls that want to con­tinue with marimba af­ter they fin­ish at Eden­dale,’’ he says.

‘‘And we are very lucky in that the school has such an in­vested in­ter­est in mu­sic and we want to share it with the com­mu­nity as well. Any­one who wants their kids to learn the marimba in a re­ally mu­si­cal way,’’ he says.

The academy be­gins in Fe­bru­ary and is open to chil­dren be­tween 9 and 12 years old.

The cour­ses will be cen­tred around hand­son mu­sic-mak­ing, with no pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence re­quired.

‘‘We try as much as pos­si­ble to en­cour­age kids to use their own ideas within a mu­sic class. It makes them feel like they are ex­press­ing them­selves and it con­nects them with the in­stru­ment,’’ Mr Hantler says.

‘‘So it’s pro­mot­ing mu­sic as ex­pres­sion rather than just another com­pu­ta­tional kind of skill.’’

Con­tact mil­liel@ voda­fone.co.nz for more in­for­ma­tion about the Eden­dale Marimba Academy.

Pho­tos: DANIELLE STREET

Sonic stu­dents: Wi­nona Lee, left, Rosie Veld­kamp and Tara Fausett say their teacher has in­spired their love of the marimba.

Re­sound­ing per­for­mance: The Eden­dale Pri­mary School marimba group plays reg­u­larly for school func­tions and out­side events.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion to see some of the marimba group mem­bers per­form I Love My Body.

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