Future of Music Education
Popular music (electronic, hip-hop, indie, metal, etc.) is super cool, but most of it is also super predictable! This is because the current music education system focuses on classical/jazz. Those genres are irrelevant for most modern songwriters and producers though, and as a result, they don't study music and choose to compose by ear instead.
However, making music by ear is precisely what's causing all the predictable songs these days, as our ears will always lead us to what we've heard before. So, if we want to make great music that stands out, we need to use theory! But, traditional theory is irrelevant and overcomplicated. This is the dilemma that popular music is currently trapped in.
Our solution is Hack Music Theory, an online platform for songwriters and producers to learn relevant, simple theory hacks, which can instantly be applied to making cool music that's also creative and clever! So, get involved now by downloading our free book, and join over 120,000 like-minded music makers in the Hack Music Theory community.
*Our deepest gratitude and respect to the Coast Salish people, whose land we humbly share here on beautiful Turtle Island.
I was born in Cape Town, where I began playing piano at the age of seven, and guitar at twelve. I went on to form Royd, a rock band that received national acclaim. In 1996, our debut single reached No. 1 on the rock chart of South Africa's most popular national radio station, 5FM, and we returned to the No. 1 spot in 1998. After achieving the highest grade from the Royal Schools of Music in piano, classical guitar, and music theory, I moved to Los Angeles in 1999 to study contemporary guitar and voice at Musicians Institute. I lived in Hollywood for two years while studying, making an album with my new band Gray Race Evolution, and gaining valuable experience playing the LA music circuit, including shows on Sunset Strip.
In 2001 I immigrated to England, where I studied education and did my teacher training in London. For the next ten years, I lectured music theory and composition at one of the UK's largest colleges, West London College, later becoming the course director and accredited lead internal verifier. In my decade at the college, I was honoured to win two prestigious awards: Learner First, and Vocational Qualification Hero. In 2006 I formed a new band, 12 Ton Method. A couple years later we got signed and released our debut EP, only to break up a few months later. At this time I unintentionally became a music journalist (long story), and after writing for Kerrang! magazine from 2009-2010, I moved on to Terrorizer for the next two years, where I also became the editor of their new guitar magazine Sick Sounds.
Winning the prestigious Learner First Award in 2010.
I founded and ran the non-profit record label Grade 9 Records from 2008-2012, which exclusively released my students' music and donated all the proceeds to charity. In 2011 I relocated to Vancouver BC, Canada, and developed this dream by launching my new and improved non-profit record label Revolution Harmony, which released over 40 records worldwide. In 2013, I streamlined Revolution Harmony to focus exclusively on my All-Star charity singles, which featured multiplatinum Grammy-winning artists (Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine, Serj Tankian from System Of A Down, and many more), with all the proceeds going to charities that restore harmony between people, animals, and the environment.
I've been singing for over a quarter of a century. I studied voice and piano through my teenage years, accompanied by regular solo performances and choral concerts.
In 2014, I undertook formal teacher training with Ray, who also trained me to teach his Hack Music Theory method - I'm the only person on the planet he's trained to teach his method! Previously I studied popular music theory (Distinction at Grade 8, the highest grade) through the London College of Music, and vocals through the Berklee College of Music.
Back in 2006 I embarked on a life-changing charity trip to Botswana in Africa, where I worked to raise youth awareness of HIV/AIDS in the community, and it was there that I discovered the true power of music. On returning to Canada, I immersed myself even deeper into the singing world, and began working with improvisation groups, choirs, performing to hundreds of people, and volunteering for non-profit fundraising events.
2012 found me exploring the mind/heart/body interconnectedness, and the vocal synergy that is created from this unity. As part of this growth into a holistic singer, I studied Yoga and did my teacher training at Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja, Mexico.
For the last few years, I've been teaching and performing in a variety of contexts, from leading Kirtan at Yoga centres to playing at festivals.
Nowadays though, I'm excited to be working full-time on Hack Music Theory with the love of my life!