When we lost my father in August, it was a time for reflection on a life that had been built, with some supporting structures, on the twin pillars of music and education. He was a lifelong primary school teacher in Melbourne, and introduced me to life’s Greatest Things – especially jazz. Indeed, I credit my dad’s constant playing of Woody Herman, Louis Armstrong’s Hot 5 and Hot 7, and recordings of my namesake Roy “Little Jazz” Eldridge with my introduction to the world of music at a young age. This would eventually lead to my discovery of classical music, music theatre, art song and opera (the latter of which I have made my profession for the past 15 years).

arts funding

But it was not just at home that I had the opportunity to encounter the life-changing medium of music; my state-run primary school had dedicated music classes from Grade 1, including once-a-week music classes and the opportunity to sing in choirs and learn instruments privately. Indeed, most millennials (and their parents!) will remember the state-sanctioned learning of that dreaded instrument...