A message from the Director of Pathways to Music, Jennifer Teh
In 2016, Dr James Cuskelly founded Pathways to Music. He had always been deeply committed to the idea of music for everyone, and Pathways to Music came about as a direct result of his ongoing commitment to music learning experiences which promote access, inclusivity and equity. James gathered the finest teachers and musicians together and put together a multi-faceted approach aimed at developing the whole musician.
At the start of 2018 I took over directorship of Pathways to Music from James, who has shaped my music education in such a profound way.
I grew up surrounded by music
Everyone in my family sang. At age 3 I was singing harmonies with my dad while he played guitar. At the age of 5 my parents recognised my innate passion for music when I began to spontaneously play songs on my toy piano. I began formal music tuition, predominantly learning by ear rather than reading music, and by the time I was 12 I could hear and play just about any song but my music reading and writing skills were not great. A strong, in-tune singing voice also emerged during this time.
When I entered high school, the music teacher there was Pathways founder Dr James Cuskelly
He taught using the Kodály method which starts from an aural (ear) basis then moves towards unlocking the mystery of music notation in what seems like an almost magical way – it’s literally about “discovering” new notes and rhythms. It was exciting and engaging. James pushed my peers and I to learn, grow and excel. Our award-winning school choirs were world-class and by the time we were in Year 10 we were doing things that were beyond the capacity of tertiary level musicians.
James left the school to become Head of Music Education at UQ – and my main lecturer throughout my 5 years there. I continued to learn and grow under his tuition, and then under the tuition of the international experts he attracted to the university. During that time, many world class teachers and musicians emerged. People who studied at UQ during the time James was there are now world leaders in music education.
Since graduating, I have taught music for over 15 years
I have taught everything from primary, high school and university music, directed choirs, taught private singing lessons, presented workshops, written papers for national and international conferences and symposia in music education and carved out a career as a professional live and studio singer. I went on to start my own company, Hush Little Baby Early Childhood Music Classes.
This all came from being lucky enough to experience true excellence in music education from James and my other music teachers. It has opened my mind and my heart to a world of possibilities.
James will continue to be a part of Pathways to Music, delivering world-class workshops and courses. He warmly invites all Pathways to Music students to consider attending the highly acclaimed annual Cuskelly College of Music Summer School, which brings together many of the Pathways to Music teachers, as well as international leaders in music performance and education, to engage children and adults alike in a world of musical and pedagogical learning.
It is an honour to be working alongside some of the best music teachers in the country, as well as continuing to collaborate with James, as Pathways to Music develops and grows.