In conversation with Patrick Miller
Posted by Zita Whalley on 27 Aug 2015
Conductor Patrick Miller is impassioned about educating younger generations in music. Having conducted the Tasmanian, Queensland and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras as well as Orchestra Victoria, since 2010 he has added Artistic Director of Patma Music Family Concerts to his list of accolades. In this role, Patrick delivers concerts which aim to educate, engage and inspire children. We chat to Patrick to find out more about his role as music educator.
What do you see as the key benefits of engaging children with orchestral music in their early years?
It’s well-known exposure and engagement with quality music is beneficial to the development of a child’s brain. Orchestral music in particular provides a wide variety of sounds and ideas that help develop sophisticated aural and communication concepts. More than anything else, introducing young people to the orchestra can inspire. The sophisticated aural world of the orchestra can engage and inspire them to either want to take part themselves, or to keep listening in the future.
What orchestral components are you trying to educate children in?
At Patma, we want to introduce people to the wide variety of sounds that orchestral music presents. Much music in the popular sphere operates within a limited range of music, such as clear harmony and uncomplicated structures. This is like teaching a child only the first five letters of the alphabet. It’s great at the beginning but you run out of vocal very quickly. The Patma concerts try to introduce the whole musical alphabet and the whole range of sounds, ideas and colours.
How do you introduce children to the pieces of music?
It is no different introducing any uninitiated person to a piece. You explain the idea of the piece, give some ideas of the concept going on, then introduce the musical ideas or themes, which are the building blocks of the piece. If you provide this framework, and the materials, then the person can put the pieces together as they listen.
What drew you towards a career in music education?
It natural that anyone who loves their career and has experienced the joys that mine has given me, would want to ensure that that love and joy is passed on to the next generation.
Patma Music is presenting free children’s concerts as part of Music in the Round, Sunday 6 September. Bookings via Melbourne Recital Centre and more information available here.