The Playground

The Simply Music blog

Simply Music Student – Bradley Hughes

Found in: Simply Music Community

Bradley is a Simply Music student who has acquired music as a life-long companion. He is a musician, a composer, an accompanist and an arranger – all by age 16. Bradley is also a very respectful, imaginative and dedicated student.

Bradley began simply music lessons in 2005 when he was 10 years old. He was one of the first students I started on Simply Music and is my longest learning SM student at present. It has been wonderful to watch him develop from a very beginner into a musician who has music as a friend for life.

Bradley began lessons in a group with several other students and stayed in that group for around 135 lessons, where they completed Level 7. He then continued on privately and has now had 266 lessons. He has a wonderful grasp of key, scale, transposing, dynamics and the functional use of music theory in the practical things he plays.

Over the years Bradley has been diligent in maintaining his playlist and putting in regular practise time each week. He has persevered through the ups and downs of a long term relationship and I cannot remember a time where we had to talk through motivation issues for him to remain learning. When I asked Brad’s mum if he had ever asked to quit she replied,  “In fact when he has, in earlier years, complained about not wanting to practise, I have given him the option of stopping lessons, and he has quietly decided to practise after all!!”

Bradley has absorbed all the wonderful things that Simply Music offers – playing blues, improvising, accompanying and arranging – to name a few – and he has also drawn from other musical experiences that he is involved in. At age 14 Bradley began playing the trumpet and now plays in a local amateur orchestra with his mother who plays viola. Bradley is also doing Year 11 and 12 music at school and this has given him a great outlet for performing and utilising all his skills he has learnt in Simply Music.

In the school class setting, Bradley becomes the arranger – working out chord progressions for songs like Stairway to Heaven and My Immortal by ear – and then transposing them into a key that suits the others in the group. The school guitar teacher one day heard an electric guitar solo happening only to find that it was Brad on the keyboard. In piano class I can give Brad a melody, like Sibelius’s Finlandia, and he can work out what chords fit best with the melody and perform it.

As many students do, Bradley struggled with reading music from the notation at the beginning of the process. He persisted and today can look at a sheet of music, find the pitch, find the patterns and shapes and put the sheet music away. Earlier this year Bradley performed, for a school music concert, an arrangement of Bach’s Toccata in D minor. He received great responses and went home and pulled out his book of Classics, found them on YouTube to see what they sounded like and came back to class the following week having learnt Solfeggio by C.P.E. Bach.

In 2009, Perth teachers held a combined concert to record students for a YouTube representation of Simply Music. Bradley at 14 can be found playing Shadow from Level 8 and Church Song from Level 7 with his own added variations.

Bradley is presently in Level 11 – though we have deviated with many other additional projects this year. He is progressing through the Jazz programme and has completed Accompaniment 2. Bradley writes beautiful compositions and I have recorded and attached his most recent for you to listen to. It is called Redemption.

Listen to Bradley playing Redemption