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  • Writer's pictureMeera Belle

Learning to Love Country Music

I have never had any particular love for Country Music....I'll make that confession right now and straight up.

But a few years ago, when I was making my musical living performing in aged care homes and searching for new title for the playlists I['d put together to provide variety, I decided I needed to get to grips with this.

So many people seemed to be fans, even superfine, so I thought it would be best to offer a show based around old-style country.

That show went down like such a treat in the retirement homes and each time I got to do it, I noticed more and more what wordy, intricate little songs they were!

Seemingly simple, they were actually very nifty vignettes on life and the universe and definitely NOT overrun with soppy love lyrics constantly and repetitively.

I was hooked and so at the start of this year I set the PPVS Mid-Term Concert theme as Modern Country....and the tears came! "I hate country music" I heard declared pupil after pupil, clearly horrified at my faux pas in setting them music they did NOT rate well - this generation dappled in TikTok and 30second bites of Pop and God knows what else.

Its MODERN country, I gently insisted and by the end of each first lesson, pupils skipped happily out the door declaring they had too many choices to make and LOVED what they were hearing.

The result? A roaring success for our very first concert post-Richmond School of Arts! Yes, we have left that messy place behind for the glittering environs of a real theatre - The Regent in Richmond, which is a gem of a venue being lovingly restored to it's former glory as a 480-seat lyric theatre!

Wr presented out concert to our largest crowd ever, who whooped and hollered and roared their approval and had the best time ever, they tell me :)

One of the very nicest things that came back to me was not just how wonderful my singers were - and many. were presenting for the first time ever - but how beautifully they behaved towards each other. None of that backbiting amateur dramatics nonsense students can often fall into in other studios and production groups. No, my pupils consistently demonstrated their respect for the venue, for the audience but best of all for EACH OTHER and everyone felt supported and cherished as a result.

These are the key things that mark any company or arts entity or teaching practice - the behaviour of students outside and in public but especially towards other singers. I am incredibly proud that my students made that impression without me ever having to direct them to do so and it's a true reflection of Pitch Perfect Vocal Studio's ethics.

The other lovely thing was just HOW much people loved hearing these modern country songs, and I heartily agree. These were great songs by wonderful artists and really got the audience engaged and having a great time. I'm a country convert finally!

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