My parents ran their own music school from a small rural town in the Waikato district of New Zealand. They taught a wide range of orchestral musical instruments from their mobile music studio (a caravan with a piano in the back) to various schools in the surrounding towns. As the youngest of five, I grew up hearing music lessons in our home from morning till night. And being curious, I worked my way around the instruments available for hire, learning how to play them. We all learned the piano and at least one other instrument. For me it was piano and violin, and later on I studied double bass at high school and university. In later life I focused on the ‘cello. I was always making up pieces on the piano, and this led to me completing a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Canterbury, majoring in composition. It has also been a privilege to become an Associate of the Institute of Registered Music Teachers in New Zealand (AIRMT).
My father, Errol Bousfield, passed away when I was 25, but not before he had often expressed how proud he was of his children. He had been taught music through the Salvation Army, who had raised him completely and faithfully in their orphan homes from when he was a baby. He was a natural encourager and I have been told I am like him in this. It was one of the greatest gifts he gave me. Together with my mother he taught instrumental groups in the Waikato district and for a number of years was the conductor of the South Waikato Orchestra and musical director of a number of theatre productions. I have fond childhood memories of our family being part of these productions.
For several years my husband Robin and I worked in Southeast Asia among a local community assisting with vernacular literacy and scripture translation in their previously unwritten language. I was eager to encourage them to explore the use of their own cultural style of music to express their faith. To this end I upskilled with a short post-grad course in the USA. This helped me in writing songs as close to the local music style as possible in order to encourage the community to not lose their musical heritage, but foster it through new avenues. We were delighted with the positive response. During these years I was also teaching music at an international school, responsible for all musical events, including writing six musicals (with my husband writing script and lyrics). I also nurtured my first orchestra of expat musicians.
Since 2004 I have been living in Christchurch, New Zealand. I am refining my own piano teaching material and enjoying creating material appropriate for my pupils as needed. This has come from ideas arising out of lessons I have created to cover particular learning areas over the last 30 years. I am grateful to many and owe a great debt to all of my family.
As a music teacher it is my greatest delight to see someone inspired and encouraged enough to take the next step, to get up when they fall and keep making progress on their musical journey.