Making marimba music
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.
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.