Back in 1993 when Gillian Erskine and I were developing and creating Forte, we were really trying to work out why we were doing this whole music school thing.
Getting to the “why” was a challenge. Our team came up with many ideas and thoughts. The usual thing of: music is important to learn, learning music makes you smarter, music enhances your brain’s ability to think and the list goes on.
Our goal was to find a short phrase that encompassed all the benefits of learning music. We came up with “Music for Life”.
Looking back on the eve of our 24th year of Forte School of Music, does “Music for Life” still mean something to our organisation? Yes, I believe it continues to embraces what we would like to achieve with each and every student who learns music with us.
After 30 years in the music education game (23 years with Forte), I have had the opportunity to see so many wonderful examples of “music for life”. In 1998 I went to New York, literally for the weekend to see one of our students, Ali Wood (who commenced lessons with Gillian), become the first Australian Pianist to debut at Carnegie Hall in New York. Wow what an experience!
I’ve taught students who have gone on to perform in bands, study music at Universities and Conservatoriums around the country, even perform with Symphony Orchestras. Every school owner in the Forte network has equally exciting stories of student successes.
All of this talent is fantastic and one small percentage of the student base across all the Forte schools. The many other students that learn and continue to enjoy playing music well after finishing lessons is an equally important triumph!
Music makes a difference in children’s lives. We, as music educators, can make a difference by being flexible to the needs of students so that we can truly engage children in music for life.