Like many people, I started playing instruments at High School. I joined the school band and played in church. Fortunately the school band was run by an experienced guitarist and he began to take me out on gigs. He effectively mentored me musically and helped me become a performing musician in a relatively short space of time. Once I finished High School, I really just wanted to continue with my music.
I worked hard, practiced, played every chance I got, and I eventually gained entry to the Christchurch Polytechnic School of Jazz - a three year fulltime course which I dove headfirst in to. I had no jazz background but I did have lots of enthusiasm. It was a steep learning curve. I learned to love jazz. I began backing jazz singers, learning to sing jazz myself, reading music, understanding theory, and I became a professional player. Soon I was gigging with experienced pro players and leading a band of my own.
After I gained my Bachelor of Musical Arts degree and my Diploma in Teaching, it was time to do some travel. I began a stint as a cruise ship musician which was very challenging. Many of my skills were put to the test, especially reading and interpreting sheet music, and working under pressure. I really grew as a musician on the ships, and when I came back I found myself in demand as an accompanist, solo performer and bandleader, as well as an educator.
Now, I live in Palmerston North, New Zealand. I teach and perform for a living and am glad to say I am doing what I set out to do.