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By Rhys Lett

My First Instrument

This week I asked the teachers of the Eastern Suburbs School of Music what was their first instrument. It was fascinating to hear their stories. We all start out as beginners with a passion for music.

Noel Tenny – Drums – Carrum Downs

I got my first drum kit when I was 12 years old after years of playing on pillows. I started off jamming to KISS, Elvis, ABBA and other early late 60’s & early 70’s rock & pop. I was influenced by close family friend who was a drummer. I started playing his kit when I visited him. My dad saw I was going alright at it, so he helped me buy my 1st kit. The kit was a Red 5 piece Dolphin brand, which back then was equivalent quality to a Pearl export drum kit. I still have the drums now ( minus the hardware, that wore out years ago!) , and still use it as a teaching kit.

Check out how Noel has progressed in this drum solo clip:

Erica Sykes – Piano – Boronia

I got my first piano at the age of 10. It cost my parents $150 and could best be described as a honky tonk kind of old piano. It had some dodgy keys but I loved it! I had nagged my parents to organise for me to learn the piano since I was about seven. They finally found me a teacher from the local paper and so began my musical journey.

Dan Slater – Drums – Boronia

When I was about 11 I started drum lessons. I had to practise on a rubber pad for a few months. I was totally hooked but had to prove to my folks that I was serious before I could get a kit. Eventually I got my hands on a second hand drum kit with totally trashed cymbals. I began jamming along with my favourite tapes and CDs everyday after school – Guns n Roses, Queen and Bon Jovi. A couple of years later my friends and I started a band and spent every weekend learning or writing songs and I haven’t ever stopped!

Watch Dan performing in his band Robot Child.

Heather Chapman – Piano/Singing – Carrum Downs

My first instrument was actually sitting in the house as I grew up ! My parents had a huge pianola complete with music scrolls and pedals that worked! At about age 5 or 6 I used to love trying to keep up with the notes that were miraculously playing all by themselves as I pressed the heavy pedals! My favourite thing to do after school was make up my own tunes on the piano or copy something I’d heard on the radio into a simple piano tune . I played by ear , as well learning to read music from my mother until age 14 when I started classical music lessons .  I’m very grateful we had a piano sitting in the house as I’m very sure my life would be completely different today had it not been there. I strongly believe in giving children an opportunity to learn an instrument and making music instruments part of the furniture . You never know where it might lead!

Alex Gooding – Drums/Guitar – Boronia

My first instrument was an acoustic guitar that I got for my 8th birthday. I didn’t get my first drum kit until I was 14; a classic Pearl Forum. Up until that point, I’d been practicing on phone books and pot lids, so it was an amazing feeling to get some actual drums to play!

Jason Fados – Guitar – Boronia

My first guitar was purchased at the age of 10. My Dad was a huge inspiration for me wanting to pick up the instrument. He would play gigs every weekend and I always got to see the enjoyment the guitar gave him. One day he took me down to our local music store to find my very first guitar. Being a lefty I had very few options to choose from, it was between a Fender Squire and an Ibanez. The look and feel of the Squire drew me in immediately and I decided to go with that. The guitar nowadays sits in a lonely corner but every time I see it it brings back great memories of all the long practice sessions and gigs I had playing that guitar.

Mary Lo – Piano/Violin – Boronia

My parents already had a piano so I started learning piano at around 6 years old. I had my own first violin at 13; before that I hired one for a few terms to try it out.

Nick Hughes – Drums – Boronia

After playing on pots and pans for a while, I got my first drum kit when I was about 11. It was a second hand, no-brand kit but I spent the next month on it from as soon as I woke up until my parents told me to be quiet.

Watch Nick performing at our 2015 end of year concert with his band Crepitus.

Daniel Lijnders – Bass – Boronia

As a young kid at Primary School my first instrument was the good ol’ Yamaha $10 Plastic Descant Recorder! I remember getting it as part of the required booklist materials for music class and have early memories playing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “Hot Cross Buns”. My brothers and sisters got in on the act too and we had our own little recorder group. When I went to Secondary College I had pots and pans as drums at home until Mum told me about the Bass Guitar and Amp sitting in the garage (it had been in storage since the late 80’s!). That Yamaha BB300 4 String Electric Bass became my first serious instrument and I still use it to this day to teach Bass at ESSM Boronia! Come in for a lesson and see a bit of history.

Hayden Blaby – Guitar/Rock Band Workshop – Boronia

I got my first guitar when I was 12 years old as a birthday present from my Nanna. It was a Washburn guitar from a music shop in Castlemaine. I played this guitar religiously from age 12 till I turned 18. I got an upgrade to a Jackson KE3 Kelly. The Washburn served me well and I learned many a Metallica songs on it growing up.

See Haydn performing in one of his bands The Bombastics in this showcase reel.