Teacher brings mu­sic to young

DAILY GRIND

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JENNY LING

Inga Hope al­ways knew she would be a mu­si­cian.

The St He­liers res­i­dent would go ‘‘ weak at the knees’’ around mu­si­cal in­stru­ments as a young­ster.

Now the self-taught gui­tarist and singer-song­writer is help­ing Auck­land chil­dren reach their mu­si­cal po­ten­tial.

The 30-year-old is of Rus­sian and Lat­vian parent­age and teaches acous­tic and clas­si­cal gui­tar to chil­dren aged 5 to 12.

Hope says she had no ex­po­sure to mu­sic as a child as her par­ents were vis­ual artists ‘‘so I was ex­posed to lots of paint­ing and art ed­u­ca­tion’’.

‘‘Mu­sic was some­thing I had to dis­cover on my own.

‘‘I taught my­self to play the flute, drums, gui­tar and key­board.

‘‘Any­thing that made mu­sic I wanted to learn how to play it.

Hope grew up in Den­mark and spent time in Eng­land, Canada and the United States be­fore her par­ents set­tled in New Zealand five years ago.

She started tak­ing mu­sic lessons for com­po­si­tion and singing as a teenager.

In 2007 she pro­duced her first CD, an in­de­pen­dent re­lease called Rid­ing the Wind.

Two years later her gui­tar teacher, Kevin Down­ing, sug­gested she be­come a teacher too, so she un­der­took a one-on-one teacher train­ing men­tor­ship with him for two years.

Down­ing is no slouch in the gui­tar world, hav­ing worked with many in­ter­na­tional artists in­clud­ing singers Cilla Black, Tony Christie, Peters and Lee and John Rowles.

Af­ter her first year of train­ing Hope opened her own pri­vate teach­ing prac­tice in River­head where she taught ‘‘all lev­els and ages’’.

‘‘Af­ter that for two years I re­alised that the young chil­dren age 5 to about 10, no­body was teach­ing them how to read and write mu­sic,’’ she says.

‘‘The meth­ods out there in the mar­ket is not for that age group so they’re very in­ef­fec­tive.

‘‘I was

los­ing

the

kids. That’s when I re­alised that I wanted to cre­ate ma­te­ri­als for them.’’

Her Gen­tle Gui­tar method was the re­sult. Chil­dren learn how to read and write stan­dard mu­sic no­ta­tion early and are en­cour­aged to learn at their own pace.

‘‘Most gui­tar teach­ers don’t teach tech­ni­cal foun­da­tions to young learn­ers,’’ she says.

‘‘In fact most teach­ers don’t even know how to teach note read­ing to chil­dren un­der the age of 9 or 10, this takes spe­cial skill.

‘‘That’s a shame be­cause that’s when brain plas­tic­ity is at its high­est.’’

Hope opened a stu­dio in her St He­liers home in May and plans to open oth­ers in Devon­port and the North Shore in the fu­ture.

‘‘I didn’t set out to be a teacher,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s the best thing that’s hap­pened to me. It’s taken dom­i­nance of my life,’’ Hope says.

‘‘Whereas be­fore it was a fo­cus on my­self and my own mu­si­cal de­vel­op­ment and ca­reer . . . work­ing with chil­dren, they’ve trans­formed my life. They have taught me a lot.’’

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