Teacher brings music to young
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.
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.’’